Cincinnati transit authority to swear in youngest ever board member

Even though economic woes nationwide have had a major impact on Metro, including increased fares and reduced services for the region's primary bus operator, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) that operates Metro has its eye focused positively on the future. 

Among those optimistic is J. Thomas Hodges who will be sworn in as SORTA's newest board member today and become the youngest member to ever serve on the board.  The 30 year-old attorney looks forward to serving on the board's Strategic Planning Committee and will be bringing his youthful energy and vision to the authority that transports more than 20 million riders annually.

"I’m pro-transit and, more specifically, for multi-modal transit.  While all my ideas are not directly within the scope of SORTA, I support initiatives like Complete Streets, Form-based code, GO Cincinnati, an expanded Port Authority, and connecting commuters and residents through rail," explained Hodges.  "I think our area's next generation demands more transportation options and I hope to be the voice of those individuals on the SORTA board."

Hodges was nominated by Cincinnati's City Council last year, and was later confirmed by the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners for the appointment.

"It's an honor to be considered for such an important position at a young age, but I’m very excited about learning from and working with the current board members," said Hodges.  "I believe my personal background will make me a unique addition to the board."

Hodges described that he has spent time outside of Cincinnati in large and small cities examining their public transportation options. He also believes that his public administration and legal background will provide valuable skills to the SORTA board.

A key priority for SORTA's newest board member is regional cooperation that leads to new transportation alternatives for Cincinnatians.

"Our area is overdue for new transportation alternatives, and I plan to work very hard to help create solutions to transportation issues that fit realistically within the available resource base," said Hodges.  "A comprehensive multi-modal transportation system is vital for the health and success of our City and region.  For the past half century, we have built a one-size fits all system focused only on the automobile. Not only does this paradigm severely disadvantage those who are too old, too young, too poor or too disabled to drive, the urban fabric cannot support the parking needed if every trip is made by car."

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography provided
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.