Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Effort intensifies to pass transit tax




By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Supporters of a proposed 0.25 percent sales tax increase for public transportation in Butler County have stepped up their campaign efforts less than a week before voters will mark their ballots.

        Billboard signs supporting the higher sales tax are going up, fliers are being mailed and press conferences have been scheduled.

        By generating about $8 million a year, the sales tax increase proposal on next Tuesday'sspecial-election ballot would preserve transportation services that have been added in the past year.

        Last year, the transit authority added fixed routes in Hamilton, Middletown, Fairfield and Oxford. The agency also initiated the dial-a-ride program, which provides on-demand curb-to-curb service anytime, anywhere in the county for $2 a ride.

        Besides maintaining current services, the sales tax boost also would allow services to expand over the next five years.

        New bus routes would run to communities such as Millville, New Miami, Trenton and West Chester and Liberty townships. The elderly and disabled could ride for free on fixed routes.

        But voter rejection of the sales tax increase would cause deep cutbacks, said Amy Terango, the transit authority's general manager.

        The dial-a-ride program would be the first to go. By the end of this year, all the fixed routes would be gone, with the transit authority providing services on a contract basis only.

       



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