Transit Proposal In Referendum
by Alyson Dame

An OPIRG initiative to expand LCT services is making progress. On the referendum currently being conducted, students will choose whether or not to support a $7.27 fee to be added to their semester term bill. The fee would go directly to Lorain County Transit and be used to expand services and route times to include more afternoon and evening times and more routes to Elyria, Hopkins airport and Cleveland.
If passed, the proposal will be brought before Student Life Committee and the General Faculty. “Essentially, once it goes through those two committees, it’s basically passed,” junior OPIRG member Abbie Turiansky said.
Senate voted to include the question after being approached by OPIRG. “That was a decision we made together, just to give students a chance to vote,” Senior Senator NiJa Whitson said.
The fee would be universally applied if passed, but some students have concerns about the absolute nature of the decision. Whitson agreed that the referendum question was a “worthwhile thing to think about,” but was concerned that students had no option not to pay. “Either we have to pay or we don’t,” she said
Turiansky co-coordinated a report titled, “Public Transportation Report and Proposal for Oberlin College,” and helped to coordinate the efforts to get the question on this semester’s referendum.
The idea grew out of an Ohio PIRG campaign last year called “Smart Development.” “Transportation is a huge part of smart development,” Turiansky said. “The idea of having better public transportation will fuel better city development.”
As well as being a positive developmental choice, OPIRG maintains, the proposal will benefit the community and the environment.
“By increasing the routes for us, it benefits the community as well. And it’s a way that we as students can give something back to the community, which I think is really important,” Turiansky said.
Senior OPIRG Oberlin Chapter Chair Yuri Futumara stressed the environmental advantages. “Another idea about public transportation is just addressing our use of fossil fuels. It is a really simple, effective way of affecting those bigger issues,” she said.
Turiansky met with Debbie Mohr, the head of LCT to calculate the fee. Last spring, a survey distrbuted to about 500 students by OPIRG collected information about student use of public transportation and interest in a UPASS system. “We got an 80 percent yes on that,” Turiansky said. According to her, LCT is supportive of the measure because at present they have to approach the county on a quarterly basis for funding.
“This system would give them some security. This money that we give them, we know it will go to the routes and they know they will get that funding,” she said.
LCT contracts bus service on an hourly basis. Starting next fall the hourly rate will be $39.32. The hours added to expand services to better fit students was multiplied by this rate, and divided by the number of students in the student body to come up with the $7.27 figure.

Currently, the survey reported, only 24 percent of students use LCT. “Some students say, ‘But I never use LCT,’ but that is precisely why we’re trying to increase service,” Futamura said.
The referendum will continue for two weeks or until at least 50 percent of students have voted. Students may vote online at:

November 9
November 16

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