GCP Study Illustrates Regional Transit Authority’s Financial Gaps, Prompting Questions of Its Future
For Immediate Release
The results of a fiscal analysis and economic forecast study conducted by WSP, on behalf of GCP, provide key information on Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (GCRTA) current financial operations and gaps, as well as opportunities for efficiencies. The WSP analysis demonstrated that while addressing some key areas like administration costs and privatization of paratransit services show the potential to maximize revenue for the agency, the core challenge remains GCRTA’s capital needs.
This work was done in partnership with GCRTA as a part of the agency’s pillar studies currently underway to develop a new vision for the organization. A taskforce of GCP member companies and organizations with expertise in GCRTA’s core operations also supported this effort.
The study found that the central issue related to the transit agency’s capital need is replacement of its rail car system. Even with increased funding to cover the financial shortfall for this project, investment would only help sustain the system as is, producing relatively modest ridership and revenue gains. The low return on investment is the result of steady ridership decline – Red Line ridership has fallen by nearly two million users in the last decade. Factors like a declining population in the core city, job loss and relocation to the outer parts of the county as well as new mobility innovations that compete with public transit all contribute to this decline.
The results of the WSP study come on the heels of a recent decision by the GCP board of directors to oppose future levy millage increases that fail to demonstrate a unique compelling contribution to our economy, a severe and urgent societal need or a more creative approach to achieving their objectives. While it is clear GCRTA is facing financial challenges, GCP is committed to working with the transit agency to first execute on the recommendations that are within their control to gain efficiencies and maximize revenue. More broadly, GCP and its leadership view the results of this study as an opportunity to work with private, civic and public partners to develop a new vision and strategy for all of our regional transportation needs.
“GCP does not believe business as usual will transform our public transportation system into one that better serves our community,” Joe Roman, GCP’s President & CEO stated. “We must think more comprehensively about how to address the needs of our public transportation assets for the greatest return on investment. All options should be on the table and all parties must work together to find the best path forward.”
The full fiscal analysis and economic forecast report conducted by WSP can be viewed here. GCP will continue to work with regional partners—including GCRTA—on comprehensive reform efforts. An infographic overview of important takeaways from this work and potential next steps can be found here.