Cleveland RTA's economic impact to community totals $322M per year

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the annual savings to passengers who choose to ride RTA rather than use their own transportation is $51.8 million.

Lavonte Perez

the annual savings to passengers who choose to ride RTA rather than use their own transportation is $51.8 million. Lavonte Perez

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) overall economic impact to Cuyahoga County is $322 million annually. That is one of the key findings of an economic impact study conducted by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development and presented by Dr. Iryna V. Lendel to RTA’s Board of Trustees this week.

The number is comprised of RTA’s direct spending in Cuyahoga County of $182 million, with $35 million added as a result of local businesses selling goods and services to RTA. An additional $104.6 million is a function of goods and services purchased by RTA and supplier employees residing in the county, Dr. Lendel said.

The study reviewed 2017 operations and capital spending. All monetary values are presented in 2019 millions of dollars.

“Importantly, the study found that transit’s impact on local employment totaled $485.8 million, measured in annual earnings brought home by those who depend on RTA transit services to get to work,” said Flounsay Caver, RTA’s interim CEO/GM.

And, in terms of people who rely on RTA to get to healthcare appointments, the numbers are equally important.

“The study found that daily more than 3,000 Greater Clevelanders are dependent on RTA to access health care. Without RTA, appointments would be cancelled or missed, resulting in a direct loss to the local healthcare industry of $103 million and an immeasurable impact to the health and well-being of those needing care,” Caver said.

Additionally, the study found that RTA’s economic impact on Cuyahoga County property values is $2.2 billion in 2019 dollars, while the annual savings to passengers who choose to ride RTA rather than use their own transportation is $51.8 million.

Other highlights indicate that RTA services contributed to:

  • Improved transit access in urban neighborhoods
  • A drop in poverty by nearly 12.3%
  • Employment growth of more than 3%.
  • Nearly 3,000 jobs either created or sustained in Cuyahoga County.
  • The saving of $28.7 million a year to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which uses RTA instead of local school buses to transport students to class.