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Transit authority to ask for 0.8% county sales tax to help fund bus system

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By Brandy Jones 

SORTA  

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) Board voted last week to approve ballot language for the placement of a 0.8 percent county sales tax levy to support transportation projects on the March 2020 ballot. 

The approved ballot language reads: 

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) proposes to levy a sales and use tax in the amount of eight–tenths of one percent for a period of 25 years. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds of the levy shall be used for public infrastructure projects, like building or maintaining roads or bridges; and seventy-five percent of the proceeds shall provide general revenues for operating the Metro transportation system. None of the levy money shall be used for the Cincinnati Streetcar. If this tax is approved, the City of Cincinnati earnings tax will be reduced by three-tenths of one percent according to the City’s Charter. 

Shall a sales and use tax be levied at a rate not exceeding eight tenths of one percent for a period of 25 years by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) for the purposes of public infrastructure projects, like the construction and maintenance of roads or bridges related to the provision of SORTA’s service, and providing general revenues for the use of SORTA? 

The sales tax would fully fund the Reinventing Metro Plan approved by the board in January after extensive community engagement. This plan will be used for service improvements, including updating Metro’s bus fleet, new transit centers and park and rides, adding new routes, providing longer service hours, increased frequency and improved service for Access, which serves individuals with disabilities. Twenty-five percent of the funds will be used towards infrastructure projects, such as repairs to sidewalks, roads and bridges within Hamilton County. 

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