LIMA — Lima 6th Ward Councilman Derry Glenn joined a group of concerned residents Wednesday at Lochhaven Apartments in Lima to voice support for a proposed 10-year, 0.25 percent countywide sales tax ballot issue to benefit the Allen County Regional Transit Authority. According to Glenn, supporting the RTA is important for those who may not have other means of obtaining transportation.
“A lot of folks have asked me to push harder on this,” he said. “And we will push harder on this. We’ll be going door to door this weekend and calling the churches. It’s important from a mental health aspect and for people getting to work.”
John Bowker and Marilyn Spiegel are both residents at Lochhaven, and both of them rely on transportation through the RTA, they said.
“There is very little affordable transportation provided by nonprofit organizations,” Bowker said. “There are alternatives to RTA, but none of them are as reasonable and have provided the long-term service that RTA has.”
“I have a number of things I need to schedule, but I use RTA at least twice a week,” Spiegel said. “We have a transport person to take us to medical appointments, but this is for non-medical things, like church activities.”
Bowker sees the RTA being of primary benefit to four categories of people.
“One is the working poor,” he said. “No. 2 is senior citizens who do not drive. No. 3 is disabled persons, regardless of age, and then students who use RTA to get to classes at their high schools and the colleges. Every one of those categories of citizens of this community deserves to have affordable transportation available to them, and without it, the entire community will be very negatively affected.”
If passed, the sales tax would raise some $4 million, much more than the $1 million that RTA officials say they need to maintain operations. However, that money will not be put to waste, according to Bowker.
“What people don’t know is that RTA has a vision, and that vision is to build protective shelters at bus stops so people will be sheltered in the rain and snow,” he said, “and also, in some of of the outlying areas, to put concrete platforms in for disabled people in wheelchairs to disembark from RTA vehicles safely. It is a big chunk of money, but it will not be wasted.”