SORTA to Consider Levy Request Soon

( Hamilton County ) - The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is considering putting a sales tax levy on the ballot, and the final decision on that will be made before the end of July.

A statement Friday evening from SORTA says there will be a special board meeting the week of July 23 to decide on whether or not to request a Hamilton County sales tax and how much. The deadline to get on the November ballot is August 8. SORTA says it's been considering a levy between 0.5% and 1.0%. 

If a levy were to be put on the ballot and passed by voters, SORTA says it would stop receiving funding from the City of Cincinnati's earnings tax.

The regional transit has been working on a "Reinventing Metro" plan for the last few years with input from the community in order to expand service in Hamilton County.

SORTA says that Reinventing Metro plan inclues:

  • New bus routes, designed to connect people to jobs in Hamilton County
  • More frequent service, more weekend service, more early/late service
  • 24-hour service on six major corridors
  • New crosstown routes, small-bus circulator service, new transit centers
  • Access service expansion consistent with expanding routes for people with disabilities
  • Bus Rapid Transit

Making expanded bus service possibly more attractive: Cincinnati City Council last month passed a budget that includes more expensive parking in some neighborhoods in order to fill in a roughly $30 million deficit.

Making a sales tax hike possibly less attractive: Hamilton County Commissioners last month raised the sales tax by 0.2% to fill in the county's own deficit of roughly $30 million. There's been a push by some to put that hike on the ballot as a referendum.

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