Spencer Twp. trustee vows no lapse in public transit

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The chairman of the Spencer Township trustees vowed again Thursday to arrange for local public transit to replace TARTA in time to avoid a gap in service, but a colleague said he’ll resist having anything “crammed down my throat.”

Chairman Curtis Lancaster said he had pledged before township voters decided Tuesday to withdraw from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority that some form of public transportation would continue in for residents who depend on it.

Mr. Lancaster said he had approached one local bus company about submitting a proposal and intends to seek quotes from several others.

Trustee Michael Hood, while also professing support for public transit, said that to provide continuing bus service, a substitute service plan “should have been put in place long before” Election Day.

“I don’t think you should be negotiating with anybody about transportation,” Mr. Hood told Mr. Lancaster, arguing that such commitments now should be deferred until a new board of trustees is seated in January.

That board probably will include Mr. Hood who, according to unofficial results, received the most votes Tuesday among four candidates for two board seats. Mr. Lancaster didn’t seek re-election and won’t stay on the board.

Bob Klumm’s unofficial 246 votes was second behind Mr. Hood’s 256 but only one more than third-place finisher Shawn Valentine, meaning a recount.

Township voters’ 268-252 tally to withdraw from TARTA has to be certified too. James Gee, the transit authority’s general manager, said on Tuesday night that if the vote is confirmed, TARTA service in Spencer Township will end Dec. 31.

Audience member Carol Shull said residents who rely on public transportation will suffer during a lapse, as occurred in Perrysburg after it withdrew from TARTA last year.

“If we wait until the new board comes in, we have no transportation for our citizens — even if it’s just a month,” she said.

She also asked whether a local service would link with the TARTA system so riders still could get to locations such as Westfield Franklin Park mall, the University of Toledo, or downtown Toledo.

Mr. Lancaster said he aims to arrange for transportation to the Meijer store in Sylvania Township, which will continue to have TARTA service.

The trustees’ chairman pledged support Thursday, as he did Tuesday, for switching TARTA to countywide service subsidized with a sales tax.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.