Frequently Asked Questions
With the passage of Issue 7 in May 2020, Hamilton County voters approved a 0.8 percent countywide sales tax increase for transit service and transit-related infrastructure improvements that replaced the 0.3 percent city of Cincinnati earnings tax on city residents and workers that had been SORTA’s primary funding source for more than 40 years. The new tax went into effect in October 2020. In the coming months, Metro will begin rolling out the Reinventing Metro plan.
The vast majority of peer transit systems, including Columbus, are funded by countywide or regional sales taxes. Prior to the passage of Issue 7 and the implementation of a new Hamilton County sales tax to fund transit, Metro received local funding through a city earnings tax. The revenue received from the earnings tax had not kept up with inflation or the rising cost of operating a transit system.
Yes, the passage of the 0.8 percent sales tax in Hamilton County will allow Metro to extend some of its routes, creating more transit options for those living farther from downtown.
Expanded service means better service for all of our riders. Commuters from the county would benefit greatly from the addition of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which would allow them to move from downtown to the suburbs quickly and with ease.
In the years immediately following the 2008 economic decline, Metro faced a sharp decrease in funding as the city’s earnings tax provided less money. As a result, Metro had to cut about 20 percent of service and, in 2009, raise fares on riders. The combined effect was a decrease in ridership that continues today.
Metro staff has been studying BRT systems in cities across the country to determine what aspects work well and what features we may not need. Our plan takes the best of what we have seen elsewhere and applies it to the Cincinnati region.