AKRON, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined local officials and transit leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of METRO RTA’s new maintenance and operations facility in Akron.
Brown played a key role in securing the Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration’s $37,808,113 investment in METRO RTA to build a LEED-certified maintenance and operations facility to support a fleet of nearly 250 vehicles. The new facility will replace a nearly 40-year-old facility to better meet current and future operational needs, including housing a larger fleet as well as operations and maintenance staff. The new facility is expected to begin operating in 2025.
“This new facility means METRO RTA will be able to not only fix buses faster, but ensure that fewer buses break down in the first place. That means better service for Akronites,” said Brown. “Transit like METRO RTA is ultimately about the Dignity of Work. It creates jobs, it connects people with jobs, and it attracts jobs.”
“METRO RTA is a vital part of Summit County’s infrastructure, providing reliable and accessible transportation options for our seniors, our students, and our children and families on their routes to school, doctors appointments, work, and the grocery store. Thanks to the historic investment by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, METRO will be able to improve their transit services, better connecting our neighborhoods and creating opportunities for people in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District,” said U.S. Representative Emilia Sykes (D-OH-13). “As the only Ohioan on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I’ll continue advocating for the federal support necessary to make the public transportation systems in our district the best in the country.”
As Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over public transportation, Brown worked with senators of both parties to write and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the program supporting this investment. Brown also played a critical role in advocating for the project to RTA, including by working to cut red tape and redundant environmental reviews that would have stopped or delayed the project from moving forward. In drafting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Brown also helped write the urbanized area grant program that ensured that the Federal Transit Administration delivered more than $24.7 million of formula funding over the past two years to METRO RTA.
Brown was joined by Rep. Sykes; Dawn Distler, CEO of the METRO RTA; Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan; Paul Skoutelas, President of the American Public Transportation Association; Summit County Executive Illene Shapiro; and Robert DeJournett from the METRO RTA Board of Trustees. They spoke about their experiences promoting accessible and efficient public transit in Ohio, and the importance of this infrastructure investment. METRO RTA’s lines provide more than 13,000 trips every weekday, and the agency’s ridership totaled 3.6 million passenger trips in 2022 across all routes. ###