State Reps Skindell, Upchurch Introduce Bill to Dramatically Increase Public Transit Funding in Ohio


Clevelanders for Public Transit rally (7/23/2018). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Clevelanders for Public Transit rally (7/23/2018).

Ohio State Reps. Mike Skindell and Terrence Upchurch have introduced legislation to increase state funding for public transit to $150 million annually. The bill arrives only days after Gov. Mike DeWine proposed cutting such funding to only $7 million, which would represent a 90% decrease from the current funding level of $70 million. 

Lakewood's Skindell said he was discouraged by DeWine's proposed cuts, and said that the Governor didn't seem to understand the importance of public transit for working people across Ohio.

"Our legislation today recognizes that we need to create a transportation system that addresses Ohio’s changing demographics and transportation preferences, links people to jobs and training opportunities, and provides access to businesses and healthcare,” Skindell said in a press release.

Rep. Upchurch, of Cleveland, noted the connection between reduced state funding and higher fares and service cuts at transit systems statewide. (The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is Ohio's largest.)

“Our proposed investment increase in public transit is a historic step forward, but more is needed to address the needs of public transit in Ohio after nearly two decades of under investment,” Upchurch said.

The local advocacy group Clevelanders for Public Transit has long challenged the state's underfunding of transit and has called for a tax-based solution. The $150 million in the Skindell-Upchurch bill would be a mix of State and Federal dollars.

Earlier this week, Cleveland mayoral candidate and outgoing RTA board member Justin Bibb sent a letter to DeWine imploring him to rethink his proposed cuts.

"The availability of reliable public transit is not only a much-needed safety net, it is also critical for those making choices about where to live," Bibb wrote. "As you consider investing $50 million to attract new residents to Ohio, I would suggest, at a minimum, maintaining the State’s current levels of investment in transit. Such investments are proven to drive economic development and quality of life issues."

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.