It was a packed house for our Coffee Chat on the Future of Metro! Pete Metz and Taylor Liggins from the Cincinnati Business Chamber and Mark Samaan from the Better Bus Coalition presented the Reinventing Metro plan to improve service throughout Hamilton County, along with the proposals that would fund those improvements. Questions from HSC members focused on better connecting the people we serve to jobs and ensuring that the funding model does not disproportionately impact lower income residents. There are currently two funding proposals. The first is a county-wide full-cent sales tax with a rollback of the .3% City of Cincinnati earnings tax that currently funds Metro. This plan would bring in an additional $100M, ~$40M of which would go to improving infrastructure such as roads and bridges used by buses. The second proposal is a City of Cincinnati charter amendment that would increase the earnings tax from 2.1% to 2.3%, with the additional amount of ~$17M going to fund additional service in the City only. The first proposal will likely be on the ballot in 2020 while advocates are planning for the second proposal to be on the November 2019 ballot. The presenters also shared a new Jobs Hubs tool created by the Business Chamber and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) that shows the travel time both by car and public transit to various job hubs in the region. HSC will continue to be engaged in this issue, given the significant impact of our public transit system on the lives of so many we serve.
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