LIMA — A $37 million increase in the available funds set aside for public transportation in Ohio’s recently passed transportation budget most likely won’t affect the Allen County Regional Transit Authority’s budget woes, according to RTA Executive Director Shelia Haney.
Haney said state funds set aside for public transportation are usually available to local actors primarily for capital expenses, and the ACRTA’s main budget concerns are centered around the public bus service’s operations budget.
For example, in 2018, the State of Ohio set aside $33 million in its transportation budget, but Allen County saw $0 of the total, Haney said. The ACRTA, however, did use state grants two years ago to purchase six vehicles for its bus fleet.
“It won’t change anything here for the Allen County RTA. (The state) hasn’t distinguished if that’s going to be for operations or for capital. In the past, it’s been for capital,” Haney said.
In a month, the ACRTA will be asking Allen County voters to approve a 0.1% increase in the county’s sales tax to add $1.5 million to its operating budget and reinstate bus services cut in 2018 that reduced ridership by more than one third. Without the levy’s approval, a continued drop in ridership and decrease in federal grants could severely hamper or cease operations conducted by the ACRTA.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.