Cincinnati looks to follow LA's blueprint to pass a transportation funding levy

Cincinnati looks to follow LA's blueprint to pass a transportation funding levy (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC)- If you have driven pretty much anywhere in the Tri-State, you have likely been stuck in traffic and the road congestion is only getting worse.

Neil Kelly is in a wheelchair and depends on public transportation after recently moving out of his parent’s house.

"While it takes almost an hour to get anywhere downtown, it's given me a lot of freedom," Kelly said. "I can go to a bar to grab a drink after work if I want and get home whenever I want and not rely on anyone else."

Kelly listened as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about how Los Angeles and the surrounding area passed a $120 billion sales tax levy to fund public and private transportation projects over the coming decades.

Measure M as it is called, directs cash to make the L.A. area transportation system more efficient for everyone, not just those who use the bus or rail system but also the people who sit in bumper to bumper traffic daily in their private vehicles.

Mayor Garcetti said measure M has three components.

"Fix the roads, expand public transportation and provide jobs, in our case 787,000 middle class jobs you can't export someplace else," Garcetti said.

Garcetti said the levy and jobs it creates will last for decades. Measure M will continue until voters decide to end it.

Mayor Garcetti said Cincinnati needs to build a coalition of the surrounding communities in order to pass a similar measure.

Garcetti said he worked with the nearby communities and showed each one how improving the transportation system overall, not just buses, could make life more enjoyable for everyone.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley knows the city has many transportation and infrastructure problems.

"We have the Western Hills Viaduct crumbling. We have roads with too many potholes. We're a hilly city, so we have a lot of bridges that have to be fixed," Cranley said.

A sales tax levy to fund the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, or SORTA was killed off already this year, without getting a public vote.

Mayor Cranley hopes by bringing together all sides of the transportation problem he can drum up enough support to pass a levy to help build and expand the area’s public and private transportation network.

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