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The Economic Impact of Public Transit

Greater Cleveland RTA contributes $322 million annually to region

A new study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development found that local public transit is an important driver of economic growth, generating significant output and jobs through its activities, facilitating employment for numerous commuters and helping to reduce poverty by providing inexpensive transit access to low income workers.

According to the report, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority contributes at least $322 million annually to the regional economy, while supporting close to 3,000 jobs in Cuyahoga County. GCRTA service access is also associated with a 12.9 percent decrease in neighborhood poverty, a 3.1 percent increase in employment and a 3.5 percent increase in property values over the long-term.

“Public transit is making a significant contribution to the regional economy, while helping to reduce poverty and improve employment access,” notes Dr. Iryna V. Lendel, director of the Center for Economic Development. “It is our hope that this data will assist policy makers in assessing future investments in transit operations and infrastructure to ensure the highest value for the community.”

The report, which was co-authored by Lendel, Dr. Obed Pash, Dro Sohrabian and Matthew Ellerbrock, analyzed the employment supported, labor income generated, value added to the economy, overall output and state and local tax contributions of GCRTA activities. It also assessed the spatial mismatch between high concentrations of residential poverty and areas with large numbers of entry-level jobs to assess the importance of low-cost public transit in furthering employment for low-income workers.

“GCRTA services reduce the effects of special mismatch between low-income residents and available jobs, helping to facilitate workforce participation in the economy,” adds Dr. Pasha.

The Center for Economic Development is housed in CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and has been selected as university research center by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.