RTA Budget Forces Some Hard Choices

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A month after accepting an award for being the best transit system in North America, RTA CEO Joe Calabrese stood before his board of trustees, yesterday, with a list of budget cuts aimed at clearing out a five million dollar spending gap. Take the cost of diesel fuel, which he says will rise by about 70 cents per gallon, this coming year.

Calabrese: Now, that alone will add $4 million to our budget -- and no additional assistance from the state.

Calabrese notes that Ohio's $16 million transit budget is dwarfed by the money that neighboring states spend on public transportation. Among other things, the new RTA budget looks to reduce the number of bus and rapid runs that duplicate each other. If you formerly took a single bus trip from Westlake, Warrensville Heights, Berea or Olmsted Falls to Cleveland, you'll now only be able to take the bus part way and then transfer to a Rapid.

Calabrese realizes that some of these route changes won't be popular with commuters used to one bus ride downtown, but he chalks it up to his mission to make the system more efficient in tight fiscal times.

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