BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Lisa Justice would like the opportunity to stop by and visit her mother for occasional weekday visits, but the lack of public transportation is preventing her from doing that.
Her mother, Joyce Nelms, is a resident of Monclova Township, and Justice is hopeful that things will soon change if Issue 12 passes on the Tuesday, November 2 ballot.
Issue 12 is the Toledo Area Transit Authority (TARTA) issue requesting voter approval to change its funding stream from a property tax revenue to a .5-percent countywide sales tax. In addition, TARTA would expand service by including the Lucas County Board of Commissioners into the seven-member system, which means communities like Monclova Township and Springfield Township would be part of the TARTA system receiving TARTA services.
For riders like Justice, who has a disability that requires her to use a power wheelchair, it would mean the chance to visit her mother more often.
“I used to drive, I used to be able to walk more, but for the past 11 years, I have been using TARTA because it got to a point where I just couldn’t drive anymore,” she said.
Ironically, the two women live within miles of each other – Justice lives in Toledo, just outside of Maumee, and Nelms is a resident of The Lakes of Monclova retirement community.
“It’s so close and yet so far away,” she said.
Justice and her husband own a car, but he works second shift, which makes sharing rides difficult. Justice also works full time at The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, where she serves as the assistant to the director and office manager. She uses TARTA’s Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service (TARPS) for her daily commute to work and to medical appointments. The service provides door-to-door public transit to senior citizens and individuals disabilities.
If Justice wants to go anywhere outside of the TARTA service area, however, she has to plan it around her husband’s work schedule.
“I would love to be able to leave work and stop in and see my mom for an hour on my way home,” she said. “Yes, going to work and medical appointments is important, but so is family and having access to family.”
Having more time to spend with her mother would enhance quality of life for both of them, she added.
“I just want to visit my mom. I am the baby of the family and my mom and I are pretty close. I think seeing her more would go a long way,” she said.
In considering how to vote on the issue, Justice wants people to remember that anyone can land in a situation that makes them dependent on public transit.
“This is for the future of the community. You never know when you may end up in a situation where you are unable to drive. It doesn’t have to be disability-related, it could be financial – you just never know. If this levy passes, we will be able to have better infrastructure for it,” she said.
Lou “Bud” Thomson, who represents the city of Maumee on the TARTA board, said that service would be expanded to Monclova Township if the levy passes.
“Service will be expanded in a lot of areas, including Spring Meadows and Holland, too,” Thomson said. “We will expand not only TARTA service but also TARPS, and that is a big benefit for a lot of people.”
The organization is also in the process of completing a comprehensive operational analysis in order to implement effective changes to routes and vehicles, he added.