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RTA In 2019 Will Be Preparing For A Possible Tax Levy

RTA bus at a stop near Jack Casino in downtown Cleveland [Isaiah Paik / ideastream]
RTA bus at a stop near Jack Casino in downtown Cleveland

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is putting a tumultuous year behind it.

In 2018, the agency saw the loss of millions in yearly revenue, changes to its board and executive leadership, a health insurance scandal and declining ridership

Interim General Manager Floun’say Caver is staying away from the budget cuts that his predecessor, Joe Calabrese, warned were coming when the agency lost millions in state revenue from a tax on Medicaid plans. 

“I don’t want to go into projecting when this cliff will come, I don’t want to scare folks into believing that this cliff is going to have these drastic cuts and things of this nature, but what we’re trying to do is best position this organization for the future,” said Caver.

Caver’s budget for 2019 doesn’t include any cuts to jobs or services.

On the schedule for next year are studies of everything at RTA, including the agency’s economic impact, potential system redesigns, and a new strategic plan.

Caver says this will set the foundation for possibly putting a tax levy on the ballot.

“We’re going to have a lot of community interaction because we want this community to help shape the new RTA as it moves forward,” said Caver.

Caver says the 2020 budget will also probably be stable, meaning any tax levy could wait until 2020, a presidential election year when voter turnout is highest.

While all this goes on, the board has also begun a search for a permanent general manager. 

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.