Once a week, the new mayor of Toledo gets to work by hopping a city bus. Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz has promised to take a Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority bus to work once a week for his entire term. In doing so, he hopes to spark a conversation on public transportation, an issue critical to many Rust Belt cities trying to attract new residents and spur economic development.
Mayor Kapszukiewicz joined Stateside to talk about his resolution and the importance of public transportation to evolving cities.
Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.
“I am doing this to really facilitate a community conversation about public transportation. Our public transportation system in Toledo is not as robust as it needs to be. It’s a system that has struggled in recent years, it’s struggled to get its levy passed — it is supported in a number of ways, but not the least of which is a vote of the public. And I said to myself that maybe the best thing I could do is try to lead by example.”
Public transit for everybody
“Right now, I worry that [public transportation] is only seen as a mode of transportation for those who are disadvantaged economically. Our [local newspaper] editorialized recently that TARTA needs to decide what it is. Is it a social service agency directed mainly toward the poor or is it a public transportation system that can lift folks of all demographic groups higher?”
The future of TARTA
“The cities that are going to win the future are those cities that figure out how to provide public transportation in a meaningful way.”
“These dynamic companies that are helping to shape the future of our economy embrace public transportation and, in fact, demand it. Millennials demand it. And cities like ours, that struggle to find that mix when it comes to public transportation are going to struggle.”