I am supporting the RTA Levy for four very important reasons:
• The late Alma Smith, and countless of other people like her who live and work in this community.
Let me explain:
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Harvard professor and former editor of the Harvard business review wrote “If people can’t move … then economic opportunity and quality of life deteriorate. To move is to thrive. To be stuck is to lack opportunity.”
For Ms. Alma, catching the bus was not just about getting from point A to point B, it was about access and availability.
Ms. Alma lived in the south end of town in Greenfield Heights on the corner of 5th and Cedar. In her seasoned years, there were no doctors offices, no grocery stores, no places to shop, or places to pay bills in her neighborhood.
Now Ms. Alma would get up early in the morning, walk up the street, and catch the bus. She would be, as her family would say “all over Lima” as she would say “handling her business.” Because of the RTA, she was able to get to work, to the grocery store, to the doctor, and even do some shopping at many of her favorite thrift stores.
Ms. Alma could have called any of her children for a ride, but for her, the bus was not just about a ride. The bus was about having the availability to move about on her own with her dignity, while adding to her quality of life and giving her access to a world beyond 5th and Cedar.
• Public transportation is not for just the poor.
71% of people that use public transportation are on the bus to get back and forth to work to support their families.
• Public transportation transforms communities by spurring economic development
• Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns.
• Public transportation connects the workforce to jobs that pay livable wages (which I strongly support).
Not only are the majority of people that are riding the bus going back and forth to work, public transportation is a $68 billion industry that’s employs more than 420,000 people in America; and every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates more than 50,000 jobs
I will be voting yes in support of the RTA Levy on May 7. Will you join me?
Sharetta Smith is the chief of staff for Lima Mayor David Berger