ODOT, COTA Fund East-West Workforce Connector Study

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has received two Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Office of Transit Workforce Mobility Partnership Program Awards totaling $2.7 million to study the feasibility of an east-west workforce connector and expand its electric vehicle charging program.

COTA’s regional transit study will focus on transporting workers to and from the Dublin area and the new Intel development in Licking County, as well as continued expansion of COTA’s electric vehicle (EV) charging program at its Rickenbacker Mobility Center.

$1.26 million of the state award will support an East-West transportation feasibility study on how to best serve the future regional workforce with connections to and from suburban job centers, including Dublin Methodist Hospital, Dublin’s Bridge Street District, Easton Town Center, Northeast Columbus job centers along Morse Road, New Albany International Business Park, including Intel. The study aims to determine transit deliverables, programmatic outputs, and cost-benefits in addressing the workforce transit needs in the northern part of Central Ohio, one of the fastest job growth areas in the state.

In addition to the ODOT funding, COTA will provide $675,000 for the two programs and will partner with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the local municipalities to ensure the best connections. “Efficient workforce movement is pivotal, and we’re excited to begin work with municipal partners along this corridor to formulate the best and most efficient options for getting workers to and from the more than 350,000 additional jobs expected by 2050 across the region,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton.

A second OWMP award of $1.44 million provides funding for the installation of six EV car chargers and four pantograph electric chargers specifically designed to quickly charge COTA’s fleet of EV buses. In support of the region’s environmental and carbon-reduction goals, COTA continues its push to be diesel-free by 2025 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.