Ohio PIRG Questions Article on LCT Initiative

To the Editors:

This letter is in response to the article, “Senate Referendum Seeks Student Input” published in last week’s issue of The Oberlin Review. I would like to clarify the statement regarding one of the other “controversial items” on the ballot, which is the proposal for a “mandatory $7 fee that would give students unlimited access to the Lorain County Transit (LCT) system.” This statement is an inaccurate summary of the proposal being presented in the Student Referendum.
The proposal aims to establish a U-Pass system whereby all students would have unlimited access to not only the current LCT system, but also to increased services which would be funded by a $7 mandatory fee on every student’s term bill. These increased services would include 12 hourly shifts from Oberlin to the Cleveland Hopkins Airport on weekends, before and after breaks, and at the beginning and end of the semester. The $7 fee would all go directly towards increasing these services. Also, from the airport, students can transfer to the light-rail, which connects to downtown Cleveland.
This proposal was a product of an Ohio PIRG Smart Development Campaign survey in the spring semester of 2001, which assessed students’ transportation trends and concerns on campus. Over 500 students participated in the survey, and many acknowledged that the current LCT system was inadequate for their needs. The increased services described above were suggested by participants in the survey.
The U-Pass system would be of great benefit to all students on campus, especially to the majority of those who do not own or have access to cars. Considering the current alternatives, including the Hopkins Airport Shuttle ($40), student transportation services ($10-15), and an inadequate LCT schedule, the U-Pass system presents a simple, yet effective solution to the concerns of public transportation for Oberlin students. Furthermore, it would be a great service to the community, for all increased services would be available to all community members. Increasing public transportation is also a great means to address issues of public health, air pollution, and global warming.
This proposal enjoys broad-based support from various organizations and offices on campus, including: Center for Service and Learning, 2020 Project, Bike Co-op, Hillel, Oberlin Design Initiative, Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA), Oberlin Sustainable Agriculture Project (OSAP), Office of Community Affairs, Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), Smart Development Coalition and Student Senate.
I hope this letter has served to clarify any misperceptions of the LCT proposal. So vote in the Student Referendum available in your mailboxes, dining halls, and co-ops, and vote yes for the LCT referendum.

–Yuri Futamura
College senior
Ohio PIRG vice-chair

November 9
November 16

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