Proposal In Referendum
by Alyson Dame
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
If passed, the proposal will be brought before Student Life Committee
and the General Faculty. Essentially, once it goes through
those two committees, its 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 dont,
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 semesters 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 its a way that we as students can give something
back to the community, which I think is really important,
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
Currently, the survey reported, only 24 percent of students use
LCT. Some students say, But I never use LCT, but
that is precisely why were trying to increase service,
The referendum will continue for two weeks or until at least 50
percent of students have voted. Students may vote online at: www.oberlin.edu/~senate/vote.html.