Portage County passes PARTA sales tax

Issue 9, a renewal use and sales tax of one-quarter percent for the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority, passed by a percentage of 58.05.

More than 7,500 people are registered for the Dial-A-Ride service through PARTA, which provides door-to-door transportation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. PARTA makes about 550 response trips for about 4,800 passengers per day.

The sales tax is not used for Kent State’s Campus Bus Service, which receives its funding through a separate contract with Kent State.

Money from Issue 9 pays operator wages and benefits, operating expenses and fuel, said Bryan Smith, manager of business development for PARTA.

Frank Hairston, marketing equal employment officer and customer service director of PARTA, said Issue 9 has brought in $3 million a year since 2002.

Hairston said the passage of Issue 9 was vital for the elderly and those with disabilities.

John H. Drew Jr., general manager of PARTA, said he wanted to thank the residents of Portage County, board members and staff, and everyone who worked to pass the levy.

“It’s important for all the people that we move, including the Kent State students, faculty and staff,” he said. “It’s a great victory for all the members of Portage County.”

-Bethany Jones