Toledo-area Democratic lawmakers Minority Whip Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) and Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today issued a statement after GOP lawmakers Tuesday inserted an amendment to undercut funding for the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) into Senate Bill 19, a totally unrelated bill dealing with wetland mitigation projects.
The amendment, offered by Lucas County Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova), limits the ability of TARTA to generate operating revenues through the local sales tax. Republicans submitted the amendment just minutes before the House Ways and Means Committee met Tuesday, effectively blindsiding Democrats on the committee.
“Undercutting public transit funding makes it harder for TARTA to serve working people, students, seniors and all those who rely on public transportation in Northwest Ohio. This amendment will make it harder for Ohioans to get to work, go to school or earn a living. Not only that, it stifles economic development in every corner of our county by limiting the ability of businesses to attract employees and customers alike. It’s a jobs killer, and we’re not sure why Republicans, let alone a Republican from here in Lucas County, would actively try to defund TARTA. The last thing we should be doing during this public health and economic crisis is to make it harder for people to get to work or do business here in our state. We need to repeal this amendment and invest in jobs, businesses and working people in Lucas County and Northwest Ohio.”
After passing the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill moves to the House floor for a vote.