Reflections from the “Where Ohio Needs to Go” Forum

Earlier this week, a host of Ohioans gathered at the Statehouse in Columbus for Where Ohio Needs to Go: A Statewide Conversation on Transportation Equity and Federal Policy.

People from communities across the state discussed priorities for transportation investment.  Participants lifted up affordable transportation options, equitable transportation investments, civil rights, and  job opportunities in the transportation industry.

Low income people in Ohio face particular challenges when it comes to transportation. PolicyMatters Ohio shared the following example from their recent analysis of those challenges: 

A single mother – living in the Columbus area, earning minimum wage, and working full time – will earn approximately $1,280 per month.  She will spend $1,035 per month on rent, utilities, and food.  This leaves her with just over $250 remaining to cover the costs of transportation, child care, health care, and other necessities.  However, the average cost of owning and operating a car—including car payments, insurance, maintenance, and gas—amounts to approximately $330 per month, which is more than she can afford to spend.  For this single mother and her family, affordable public transportation is critical to connecting her to opportunity.

Many of the participants emphasized the importance of making sure that our nation’s transportation system brings benefits to all Americans: young and old; rural, suburban and urban; rich and poor. It was clear from the stories and viewpoints share during the forum that this country need’s equitable transportation investment,  so that everyone — regardless of income, race, age, disability, background, or ZIP code – has affordable, available, and accessible transportation options. 

Congress is debating the surface transportation authorization right now.  This week’s forum in Ohio is the first of what we hope will be a series of conversations of this kind in communities across the country to shape the debate about this important legislation. 

Please visit: www.t4america.org/equitycaucus to learn more about how you can get engaged in this discussion.

You can also view a clip from the event, including comments from Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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