2018 Multimodal Voter Guide: Candidate Responses

Candidate responses to the Transit Columbus/Yay Bikes!/All Aboard Ohio multimodal questionnaire continue to arrive…

Here are the latest, grouped by the position/office sought:


Franklin County Auditor

Michael Stinziano (mstinziano@michaelstinziano.com)

Q: The Columbus Region is adding 86 people per day. How should we use active transportation (transit, biking, walking) to address regional growth?

A: As Columbus City Council President Pro Tem, a former State Representative, and the former Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, I understand the importance of involving all levels of government in a bipartisan manner to nd common sense solutions to build an integrated public transportation system in our community. I fully support increasing recent efforts to protect and enhance the experience of pedestrians and cyclists in Columbus and support developing neighborhoods that are transit, pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Q: Is it important to add additional funding for COTA to put towards efforts such as enhancing transit speed, reliability, frequency, to add rapid transit (such as Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail), and to create connections to other modes?
A: I continue to support additional funding for enhancing transit speed, reliability, and frequency including new, expanded, and realigned bus routes to connect places where people live with places where people work and study as well as new transit choices like bus rapid transit lines, light rail and streetcars.

Q: Do you support prioritizing traffic signals for buses and for people who bicycle and walk?
A: Yes, I support prioritizing traffic signals for buses and for people who bicycle and walk.

Q: How do you plan to ensure Columbus and Central Ohio increases walkability and bike infrastructure throughout the city?
A: I fully support the mission of Transit Columbus to build an integrated public transportation system for people to improve the safety, health, environment and economic vitality of the entire Columbus region. Working together, we will increase walkability and bike infrastructure throughout Columbus and Central Ohio. On Council, for example, I supported the appropriation of $2.5 million for the installation of new sidewalks around Columbus schools. The funding in this year’s capital budget will be used for initial design work for the installation of new sidewalks, with an additional $2.5 million designated in the City’s capital improvement program each year over the next five years to continue work on the projects.

Q: What type of investments in equitable transportation between cities would you support (Columbus to Chicago passenger rail, Hyperloop etc.)?
A: Personally, I support moving forward with proposals to attain passenger rail connections to Chicago although I think we need to be realistic about how long it will take to fund and complete projects like Columbus to Chicago passenger rail and Hyperloop.

Q: What snow and debris removal policies would you support to protect people who walk, bike, and use transit as a form of transportation?
A: I support snow and debris removal policies that protect people who walk, bike, and use transit as a form of transportation, not just snow and debris removal policies that promote vehicular traffic.


State Representative

Laura Lanese (laura@lanese.net)

Q: Do you support – at a minimum – increasing state transit funding to replace the loss of revenue due to changes in the sales tax collection? Why or why not?
A: I would prefer to work on transit efficiencies first. I would also look into using funds from the MVFT differently for other purposes.

Q: How would your priorities in active transportation be reflected in State budget decisions?
A: I would prioritize those that are most environmentally friendly and cost effective.

Q: How would your transportation policy priorities address access to active transportation dollars for all Ohio communities, particularly with an emphasis on resource-challenged communities?
A: I would first investigate the success of programs like Smart Columbus to see if their approach is successful. The challenge is to get those in resource-challenged communities to the job-rich communities. I would also leverage and promote the new federal opportunity zones to encourage investment from capital gains in those communities. This should encourage job creation in those resource-challenged communities thereby decreasing the need for transportation out of those communities and saving time and financial resources, as well as improving traffic congestion if we encourage walkability in those communities.

Q: What type of investments in equitable transportation between cities would you support? (bus, passenger rail, Hyperloop, etc.)
A: Bike paths would be my first investment. I believe many people would utilize these not just for health reasons but also economic and environmental. Hyperloop poses some interesting opportunities but I would need to know more about the costs. And with buses, I believe we need to work more on the last mile challenges utilizing business-sponsored shuttles and smaller buses.

Q: Do you support the state creating additional opportunities for local funding of transit and other transportation infrastructure improvements? And if so, how?
A: We do need to increase funding for transportation infrastructure, and I supported HB 415 as one means of doing so.

Q: Ohio’s Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax (MVFT) was passed in the 1950’s to support the building of better highways and bridges. In 2018, those revenues still cannot be spent on developing and improving any other transportation modes. Would you support changing the use of MVFT revenues to better address active transportation needs to move people?
A: Yes. I would look to see if funds like the grade crossing fund are still necessary at that level of funding and whether they could be redirected for other transportation needs.

What’s missing from this picture?


The Urban Land Institute’s Columbus chapter published this map of cities with rail and/or bus rapid transit systems in existence or under constructions in their Columbus 2050 report. Sadly, the center of Ohio looks a bit empty….


GPS tracking for COTA? It’s coming….

A screen shot from NYC's bus-tracking system

A screen shot from NYC’s bus-tracking system

Today is a day to rejoice. COTA has announced that starting early in 2014 people will be able to see their bus’ actual location in real-time using a GPS tracking system. So now when you’re hanging out in a cafe waiting for the twice hourly #18 to go back home you can keep an eye on your phone and time your dash to the bus stop perfectly. I wonder, will there be an app, or integration with Google maps? The easier transit gets to use the more people will use it, so we applaud another smart improvement from COTA.

For more info check out this week’s Transportation Insider column. There’s also a good bit about Millenials and transportation choice.


Taking transit to work? In Columbus, you probably can’t.

BrookingsColumbusOH-page-001According to the Brookings Institute only 34% of jobs in the Columbus region are accessible within 90 minutes by transit. So, if you don’t have a car and need to get to work, well, good luck.

You can see on the map that the urban core is well serviced. If you live in Hill Top for example and work at a coffee shop downtown you can buy a COTA monthly pass and let someone else do the driving. If you want a better paying job at a distribution center in the periphery though, you’d better start saving so you can make car payments.

So, for the 10% or so of Central Ohioans with no car, those of us whose cars are on their last legs, and folks who just prefer to avoid the stress and cost of driving, there’s a good chance your work options may be limited. For those with no cars and no other options, this inability to get to where the jobs are can have a profound negative impact on their quality of life.

Businesses are beginning to feel the pinch too. Some companies in areas without reliable transit access are having staffing problems, and though we won’t name names, we’ve heard that COTA’s decision to look into expanding service to New Albany is due to several large employers there having trouble retaining workers for lower wage jobs. The trouble seems to be that the workers they’d like to recruit just can’t get to work.

Fixing this problem will not only take improved transit service in Central Ohio, but also more strategic thinking from  businesses as they consider where to locate their facilities. Land in the suburbs may be cheap, but getting there isn’t.