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RTA Red Line delays, caused by high heat, bring up funding concerns

Posted at 11:14 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 07:25:37-04

Cleveland's RTA Red Line has been plagued by delays caused by record-setting high temperatures over the past two days.

The delays left thousands of riders stranded on June 17 and 18, causing delays of a half-hour  or more.

RTA officials reported temperatures into the 90s caused overhead electric supply lines to expand and sag, leading them to lose contact with Red Line train cars below.

The incident caused the groups Clevelanders for Public Transit and All Aboard Ohio to bring up concerns over badly needed funding for the antiquated RTA system.

Chris Stocking, with Clevelanders for Public Transit, said RTA is unwilling to consider a funding levy on the November ballot to deal with a huge budget gap.

"It's ridiculous, I mean there is service going down for all kinds of reasons," Stocking said. "It's too hot, it's too cold.

"I just can't understand why RTA is dragging its feet right now, when riders are literally stranded, while the train is broken."

Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland says state and federal funding is desperately needed to upgrade an RTA system thousands depend on daily. "It's not a good situation, to put it mildly," Cleveland said. "You've got to do a much better job here in Ohio. We're one of the worst states in terms of funding public transit, I mean the worst.

"We've got to do something, because we can't sustain anymore fare increases, and no more service cuts."

News 5 contacted RTA Headquarters, but it was unable to tell us if it has any plans in the works to deal with funding and reliability issues.

Meanwhile, concerned riders will hold a public meeting on funding Thursday, June 21 at the Old Stone Church on Public Square, starting at 1 p.m.

Stocking said something must be done as soon as possible. "I think it's ridiculous, they're talking about doing some economic study that's going to take over 8 months, when just right now as we speak the red line is down on the west side," Stocking said.