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Bikes, Buses, and Walkable Communities: The Future of Columbus Transit Heads To The Ballot

The future of our city’s transportation is heading to the ballot this November, and it’s all about making our daily commutes faster, safer, and more fun.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has approved a transit sales tax levy to help fund the ambitious $2 billion LinkUS Mobility Initiative.

What’s LinkUS All About?

LinkUS offers the possibility of fast and reliable buses, safe and spacious bike paths, and walkable neighborhoods where you can easily get to work, home, or your favorite hangout spots. That’s the vision of the LinkUS Mobility Initiative. It’s a grand plan to transform how we move around central Ohio, making it more convenient and accessible for everyone.

bus rapid transit columbus ohio
Renderings courtesy of LinkUS.

The Big Plans

Under LinkUS, we’re talking about several rapid transit corridors. The first to get the green light is the West Broad Street corridor, with a whopping $314 million price tag and $41.9 million already secured. But that’s just the start. There are more corridors planned for East Main Street and Olentangy River Road.

READ MORE: A Bus Rapid Transit Program Could Change The Way Columbus Commutes

The Levy: What’s It Mean for You?

Now, to make this dream a reality, COTA is asking for a little help from all of us. The sales tax levy on the November 5th ballot would increase the COTA sales tax from 0.5% to 1%.

Why Now?

Mayor Andrew Ginther and City Council President Shannon Hardin are both championing this cause. They’ve pointed out that Columbus is growing fast – really fast. In the next 25 years, we’re expecting a million new residents. Imagine the traffic if everyone’s driving! Ginther is advocating for a shift away from our car-centric past to a future with more public transit, bike paths, and walkable communities.

Bus rapid transit (BRT) offers a similar experience to light rail but is much more cost-effective – up to seven times cheaper to build. Plus, LinkUS plans include building 500 miles of bikeways, sidewalks, and trails, making it easier and safer to get around without a car.

bus rapid transit station columbus ohio
Renderings courtesy of LinkUS.

A Choice for the Future

This isn’t just about transportation. It’s about the kind of community we want to be. With the first three LinkUS corridors, over the next decade, more than 380,000 jobs will become more accessible. It’s about inclusive growth and ensuring everyone can benefit from Columbus’s bright future.

City Council President Hardin put it perfectly: “This is the time where we as a community get to choose our future. Do we support inclusive growth in a way that will be good for us? Or do we choose to do nothing and fall way behind?”