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:

Local

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

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.

Moving soon? A majority of Americans say transit matters when selecting a home

Every year the Urban Land Institute issues a survey on Americans’ housing preferences,014-001 and this year’s was quite interesting. So, what do the people want? It seems they want mixed-use communities, walkability and public transit. Considering the nearly daily news articles heralding the “return of Downtown” or proclaiming that “we’ve passed peak driving” this doesn’t really come as a surprise. Just look around Columbus and you can see dense, mixed-use developments mushrooming up all over the city. It’s a sight to behold.

The wonderful thing though was how many diverse demographics supported transit. Baby boomers, Generation Y, city-dwellers, those with post-graduate 012-001degrees and those making under $50,000 a year are just some of the demographics that ranked transit has a high priority. This helps explain why transit has been performing well in elections recently (in 2012 79% of transit initiatives won at the ballot box). We knew the support had to be coming from some where. It seems though, the support is coming from almost everywhere.

The question is, could something win at the ballot box in Central Ohio? We’ve got Baby boomers, Millenials, city-dwellers and a great university minting new masters degrees by the minute, so something tells me transit might have a chance. Perhaps it’s time to dust off Mayor Coleman’s 2006 streetcar plan, or COTA’s 2009 light rail plan, or, come up with something new and give it a go.