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Cleveland State Study Examines RTA's Economic Impact

[ideastream file photo]
An RTA train car sits in a transit facility

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority supports thousands of jobs in Cuyahoga County, according to an economic impact analysis by Cleveland State University researchers.

Professor Iryna Lendel, who directs the university’s Center for Economic Development, presented the findings to RTA board members on Tuesday. This is one of several reports on RTA being prepared as part of the agency’s strategic planning process. 

The transit agency employs 1,800 people in the county, she said, and RTA spending supports the equivalent of another 433 jobs among suppliers.

“In addition, $156.4 million were spent in 2017 on local salaries and benefits to those employees who reside in Cuyahoga County,” Lendel said.

Lendel’s team also examined what’s called “induced” economic impact, which stems from estimated consumer spending by employees of RTA and its suppliers. That spending supported 744 jobs, according to the report.

The study found that although transit riders paid $45.4 million in fares in 2017, it would have cost them $97.4 million to travel those miles by car.

And while 22,000 entry-level jobs are located in Cleveland, the report said, there are thousands of other such positions in the suburbs. Those jobs are more distant from the county’s poorest neighborhoods, where a larger share of people don’t own cars.


Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.