LIMA — Seven of Allen County’s mayors came together Friday to voice their support of the Allen County Regional Transit Authority’s May levy that would increase county’s sales tax by 0.1% in order to keep the ACRTA in the black.
Lima Mayor David Berger said he took the initiative to reach out to Allen County’s mayors to let them know of the regional impact of the service. A common misconception is that the ACRTA only services Lima and its surrounding townships, but the transit authority does provide countywide door-to-door shuttle services for elderly and disabled residents through its Uplift program.
ACRTA board president Brad Taylor said even he didn’t know of the breadth of services that the transit authority offers throughout the county before taking his position.
“It’s beyond just the big buses,” Taylor said.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone I had spoke with was surprised that services of RTA are in fact very much regional throughout the entire county in a way that really does affect the quality of their citizens’ lives in a significant way,” Berger said during a press event held Friday to show the extent of mayoral support throughout the county.
The seven mayors that voiced support include Richard Johnson of Bluffton, Todd Wilkin of Cairo, Josh Gillespie of Delphos, Kim Hardy of Elida, Shannon Rumer of Harrod, P.J. Johnson of Spencerville as well as Berger.
“Public transportation is an important economic development tool which nurtures urban revitalization, delivers workers to area businesses which can ultimately provide numerous benefits including the establishment of new businesses, industry and housing. In 2018, the ACRTA provided 1,550 transports for Delphos residents,” Gillespie said in a statement.
“Speaking only for myself as an individual, I will be voting for this because I realize how many facets of our community it affects and the benefits it offers for very little cost,” Hardy said in a statement.
“They provide safe, reliable transportation for our elderly residents, our special needs students and persons with disabilities — from every corner of our county,” Wilkin said in a statement.
“I would like to encourage all the voters in Bluffton and the surrounding area to consider voting for the RTA levy. It’s a vital part of Allen County. I know they service Bluffton frequently,” Johnson said during Friday’s event.
Through its May levy, the ACRTA is asking for voters to raise Allen County’s sales by 0.1%, which would raise $1.5 million annually for the bus service to fill gaps in the ACRTA’s operations budget primarily caused by decreases in federal grant funding caused by 2018’s cuts in weekend and night services for fixed bus routes.
Early voting for the May 7 election begins Tuesday, April 9.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.