still on road as Musial,
Kucinich continue to fight RTA
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Dec. 22, 2004
and Westshore Congressman Dennis Kucinich yesterday got extra time
and continued their campaign to keep the Regional Transit Authority
from taking over the North Olmsted Municipal Bus Line.
T. Musial and Kucinich both expressed their opposition to a merger
when they spoke to the RTA Board of Trustees at its regular monthly
meeting yesterday while the board also approved a three-month extension
of the current contract between RTA and NOMBL. That five-year contract
was set to expire Dec. 31. In related legislation, North Olmsted
City Council last night was expected to approve the three-month
extension of the agreement.
the extension gives the city additional time to try and find a solution
that would prevent NOMBL from being absorbed by RTA.
to try and find some way to stop that from happening," said Musial.
to the RTA board, Musial again reiterated his arguments that RTA
should consider how much money North Olmsted puts into the transit
system via the county sales tax proceeds and that the city-owned
system continues to run efficiently on its own.
needs to consider all aspects of this," Musial said. "NOMBL has
been an asset not just to North Olmsted, but to the Westshore in
the service NOMBL provides to other communities such as Bay Village,
Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake. It also provides intra-suburban
and downtown Cleveland commuter service.
he felt his and the congressman's attendance at the board meeting
Tuesday was important.
"I wasn't leaving
until the extension was passed," Musial said. "We'll continue to
work with the congressman and others on finding a solution."
press secretary, Doug Gordon, said the congressman and mayor have
a close working relationship.
"We're in lockstep
with the city on this issue," Gordon said. "The congressman will
continue his opposition to RTA taking over the North Olmsted and
Maple Heights bus lines."
He said while
the congressman will be working on ways of finding additional funds
or some other solution that would keep the two bus lines independent
of RTA. The two city-run lines are the last of the 13 independent
bus lines that were in operation when RTA was formed 30 years ago.
"I don't think
this is what everybody had in mind when RTA was formed 30 years
ago," Kucinich said in a press conference last week.
the takeover would not be a "good deal" for North Olmsted, NOMBL
riders or its employees.
already have received one letter from Kucinich earlier this month
expressing his opposition to a takeover. In addition, Kucinich said
if other efforts fail, he would try and stop any takeover through
filing an injunction or other legal means.
Manager Joe Calabrese said he expected an extension to be sought
"We can continue
to negotiate this way," Calabrese said. "There already are more
negotiating sessions set for January. If the city and congressman
can find more funds to continue to run NOMBL as it is, we would
be very happy with that. We just can't continue to operate the way
we currently are."
RTA could provide the same current service as NOMBL for nearly $2
million less. He also said all service will remain the same and
that NOMBL employees will have the same seniority rights if they
are absorbed into RTA.
Musial is trying
to set up some town hall meetings to help rally opposition to an
ON THE NET:
NORTH OLMSTED MUNICIPAL BUS LINE:
REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY: