The need and demand for transportation options is changing in response to both underlying demographic changes in Greater Lorain County and cultural changes. A large portion of younger adults (millennials) and older generations (baby boomers) express a desire to live in communities that are bikeable, walkable and have transit. In addition, our residents are getting older and poorer, especially in Elyria, Lorain and rural villages and townships. Seniors and low income individuals rely more on transit systems to get them to school, work, shopping and health services. Health and human services increasingly serve individuals in the community and encourage community living rather than institutional care. Transit is estimated to save the typical rider over $8,000 annually.
Lorain Countians travel across municipal and county boundaries to get to work but also for shopping, school and to access health care. 36,888 or 27.9 percent of employed Lorain County residents travel to Cuyahoga County for work. The lack of public transportation puts Lorain County at a disadvantage when competing with neighboring communities for new business development. Public transportation spurs economic growth and development:
- $10 million in transit capital investment yields $30 million in business sales
- $10 million in transit operations yields $32 million in business sales
- $1 billion in federal investment in public transit creates 35,000 jobs
The need for transit is not limited to urban areas. As Lorain County’s rural population continues to get older and rely more on public transit, the need will only grow.
United Way of Greater Lorain County Position
United Way of Greater Lorain County (UWGLC) supports a countywide transit system with transportation hubs in Elyria, Lorain and Oberlin, dial-a-ride services in other communities to link people to these hubs. The system will provide regular routes to serve the needs of residents to get to work, school, shopping and healthcare.
Toward that end, UWGLC supports:
- A local sales tax that is dedicated to transit and used to match state and federal funds.
- A system that is linked or operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
- An increase in state funding for public transit from 2 percent to 10 percent of the state transportation budget by 2020