Laketran's advocacy effort to reverse a 90% state funding cut

Target Audience: Our target audience was Ohio State Lawmakers, transit advocates and the general public.

Strategy Objective:In Ohio, the majority of our public transit systems are rural and while are located conservative regions of the state, their lawmakers do not support public transportation. Laketran is unique that we're suburban system that understand the demand of serving both rural and urban areas. Our CEO was able to represent the needs of both types of transit system when testifying to increase the state investment in public transit.

Situation Challenge: The state attempted to slash it's $90M public transit budget to just $7.3M in the SFY 2022-2023 at the same time the state was request additional help and service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results Impact: Laketran testified in front of the finance committees of both house and senate. We used video of the testimony to share our funding challenges with media, riders and the community via social and traditional media. While his oral testimony was personal, testifying also allows the ability to submit a written testimony that we also shared with the media. Laketran's efforts earned an editorial in the Cleveland Plaindealer share the history of Ohio's meager state funding program quoting our CEO and sharing how the impacts would affect Ohio - especially the immediate need to help residents get vaccinated. The final result was the house submitted a substitute budget that increasing funding from $7.3M to $56M. The senate amended the budget to increasing the budget to $74M.

Why Submit: Laketran, and many other transit systems across Ohio, worked strategically together and refused to except a 90% cut in funding, especially as we continues to serve our communities during the pandemic. We were informed by our lobbyist that after Governor Mike DeWine read the Plaindealer editorial "Lawmakers must reject Gov. DeWine's shortsighted bid to slash public transit funding" he reached out to congress to reverse the proposed budget cut. We know that Headlines are important to politicians and by getting our story into Ohio's largest newspaper we could make an impact. By sharing our stories, including when our CEO broke his leg and relied on paratransit for 4 months, we painted a picture of the need for public transit in rural or urban areas and the benefit of investing in it.