U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was in northwest Ohio Tuesday to tour the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA). The historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Brown helped write and pass, includes more than $50 million to expand service for job training and for new pollution-free vehicles in Toledo.
“Transit is all about the dignity of work — it creates jobs, it connects people with jobs, it draws in investment to help cities like Toledo grow and create opportunity. Toledo understands that connection better than just about anywhere,” Brown said in a news release. “Whether it’s downtown Toledo or the major jobs and manufacturing centers opening up nearby — there’s a reason that employers and entrepreneurs and workers have all been asking for better transit.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide a record $39 billion investment in public transit funding over the next five years. Ohio will receive $1.3 billion, with $51 million of that going to Toledo.
The bill would enable transit agencies to apply for grants to upgrade their fleets with pollution-free vehicles and to train employees on how to use the new transit technology.
Brown was joined at the event by local transit leaders, and union employees who spoke on the difference the investment will make for the community.
“The TARTA fleet has suffered from years of underinvestment, which has put up an unnecessary roadblock for people in Toledo’s disabled, aging and disadvantaged communities trying to take advantage of the opportunities this area offers. We appreciate Senator Brown’s efforts and support to bringing a much-needed financial boost to help TARTA and transits systems around the country through the new infrastructure bill funding,” said Laura Koprowski, CEO, TARTA.
“The timing of the infrastructure bill is fantastic with the new sales tax levy, I think that’s going to be a huge jumpstart to what TARTA is trying to do,” said Mark McGuire, an electrician and member of TAAP/UAW Local 5242 for the past 20 years at TARTA. “I’m hoping we can make a huge transition into the 21st century.”
The bipartisan infrastructure and jobs bill will make investments in Ohio, including:
• Fixing highways, rebuilding bridges and upgrading ports, airports and transit systems.
• Delivering clean drinking water, a renewed electric grid and high-speed broadband to all Americans.
• Revitalizing manufacturing, securing U.S. supply chains, investing in research and development and training Americans for the jobs of the future.
• Creating good-quality jobs that pay prevailing wages in safe and healthy workplaces while ensuring workers have a free and fair choice to organize, join a union and bargain collectively with their employers.
• Solidifying the infrastructure of the nation’s care economy by creating jobs and raising wages and benefits for essential home care workers, the majority of whom are women of color.