Funding issues could offset one another

A debate in Ohio is highlighting two problems: one, the pitiful level of money available for public transportation in the state; and two, the apparently bottomless fund for studies and reports.

Gov. John Kasich requested a relatively small $1 million increase in public transportation spending over the next two years. In a public transit study commissioned last year, the figure suggested was more like $2.5 million. The larger figure was never even considered. The state House of Representatives rejected Kasich’s request, while the Senate still is considering the budget.

Apparently no one had a problem with spending $1 million for the study itself. Why? Why in the world should it have cost $1 million to study the need for and expense of public transportation in the Buckeye State? Or, perhaps a better question should be why did no one object to spending that kind of money for yet another study, when there are objections all over the place to spending the same amount on bus and passenger rail service? It is almost as though lawmakers had every intention of ignoring the results of the study on which $1 million was thrown away.

Quality, efficient public transportation is one of the ways in which communities and states rebuild work forces and business districts, while doing something good for the environment and providing options for those who are unable to get around any other way.

Public transit should be an important part of Ohio’s economy, instead of an afterthought. And, should lawmakers find themselves unable to come up with the money, it seems as though the bottomless pit from which worthless studies and reports are funded would be a good place to start.