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SORTA To Vote On Levy Proposal July 25

Sarah Ramsey
SORTA, the agency that runs Metro and Access buses has a deficit projected at $184 million.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) will decide July 25 at 9 a.m. in a special meeting whether to put a sales tax levy on the Hamilton County ballot and in what amount.

The agency that runs Metro and Access buses has a deficit projected at $184 million. A proposed sales tax would cover that and ensure long-term funding. State law allows a regional transit authority to request sales taxes in increments of 0.10 percent or 0.25 percent (not to exceed 1.5 percent).

SORTA has been working on Reinventing Metro. That’s a plan for making improvements should new sales tax funding be approved.

In the public comment session of the regular SORTA board meeting Tuesday night, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune lashed out at members saying this is not the right year to put a levy on the ballot. Portune criticized the board for not addressing accessibility issues and working to make the bus service more regional.

Board member Brendan Cull fired back saying Portune was undermining the work the board has done. He said Metro is "grossly underfunded" and if the levy doesn't pass "there will be deep cuts in routes and increases in fares."

Consulting firm EY conducted the study for the Transportation Business Coalition.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.