Downtown Cleveland Residents (DCR)
Resolution in Support of a Funding Levy for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) (Approved unanimously by a vote of the DCR members during the Community Gathering of 07/15/2020)
- The vision of DCR to help promote communication and understanding between downtown stakeholders and eliminate prejudice and discrimination within our boundaries. The association gives a unified voice to the people who live, learn, work, and play in the urban center and wish a say in policies guiding future downtown growth and development; and
- The mission of DCR to foster communication, education, and civic participation between primary downtown stakeholders: residents, businesses, and the City of Cleveland, and to advocate for downtown living and promote the voice of the downtown residential community; and
- Included in the vision of the GCRTA are to be recognized as a transportation industry leader and viewed as the most well-run public agency in the United States and to be a top-flight organization with a first-class image; and
- Frequent, reliable, safe, and affordable public transit is in the general interest of Downtown residents; and
- The cost of fares on GCRTA have doubled since 2006 yet service has been cut 29% during the same period according to the National Transit Database; and
- According to a 2019 study commissioned by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, “additional non-Federal funds will be necessary to meet the existing and future needs of the [GCRTA] system, if heavy rail and light rail are to be maintained as viable transportation options;” and
- The same GCP study found that the increasing population of Downtown residents as an opportunity area for GCRTA to increase ridership; and
- Per census data, the poverty rate for Downtown Cleveland is 37.9% and a 2019 study by the Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development found that GCRTA service results in a 12.3% reduction in poverty & employment growth of 3%; an
- The median cost in Cleveland to build structured parking is $19,085 per space and the additional construction costs for new development from structured parking causes increases in rents to residents; and
- Per census data, 42% of Downtown residents are in Unaffordable Housing (represented by housing costs in excess of 30% of household income); and
- The Ohio Statewide Transit Needs Study found that statewide “the investment [in transit] needs to double by 2025” and that “all stakeholders should be working towards” that funding goal; and
- The above-mentioned GCP study found that increased funding for GCRTA via a property tax levy is a more equitable option than a sales tax levy; and
- A 2012 study (Junge & Levinson) found that a “higher tax on land would require developers to build more in order to recoup their expenses, while the lower tax on improvements would remove a disincentive for building”; and
- A 2010 study (Cho, Lambert & Roberts) notes that shifting a property tax from taxing buildings to taxing land “promotes greater economic incentive to develop land where land values are higher—such as around existing infrastructure and amenities,” suggesting an incentive for more development over undeveloped Downtown surface parking lots; and
- A 2010 study (Banzhaf & Lavery) found that “adopting the split-rate tax results in a 4–5% point increase per decade in the growth of the density of housing units,” indicating a strong tool for curtailing suburban sprawl.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Downtown Cleveland Residents:
- Supports the placement of a tax levy to increase funding for GCRTA on the November 2020 ballot, whether such a levy be placed directly by GCRTA or by Cuyahoga County; and
- Supports such increased funding be used for a higher-frequency transit network, fare relief to riders, and an expanded area of coverage; and
- Supports the following options for such a tax levy in order of preference from most preferable to least:
- A property tax levied based on land value alone, if allowed by Ohio law.
- A property tax levied at a split-rate basis in such a manner that the value of land is taxed at a higher rate than the value of buildings on that land (split-rate taxation), if allowed by Ohio law.
- A property tax levied in the manner consistent with those currently collected in Cuyahoga County.
- An increase to the Cuyahoga County sales tax currently used for funding by GCRTA.