Courtesy Clevelanders for Public Transit
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has finally appointed a regular transit rider to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Board of Trustees. This week, the county's HR and appointments committee officially confirmed Roberta Duarte, downtown resident and project manager at JumpStart, as the RTA's newest board member. She replaces outgoing member Justin Bibb, currently a candidate for Cleveland Mayor.
Duarte, a native of Paraguay, serves as the Vice President of Cleveland's Young Latino network. She has described herself as an "avid" user of public transit.
"I am one who believes that the path to equitable transportation exists in our collective wisdom," Duarte said, in a press release from the grassroots transit advocacy coalition Clevelanders for Public Transit (CPT). "As RTA's newest board member, I support fulfilling RTA's mission to make our public transit more equitable and inclusive, (while also minimizing public health and climate change impacts). Safe, affordable and reliable public transportation benefits entire populations (improving people's health and social mobility), and can also lead to economically vibrant communities."
CPT has been calling on Armond Budish to appoint a rider to the RTA board since 2018. Earlier this year, when it was confirmed that Justin Bibb would not be re-appointed after his single three-year term, CPT renewed their call.
Budish is responsible for three of the board's 10 appointments. Mayor Frank Jackson appoints four members and the county mayors and city managers association appoints the final three. Budish's current appointments, other than Duarte, are local immigration attorney Karen Gabriel Moss and labor union leader Terence Joyce.
CPT chair Chris Stocking argued in February that having a regular rider on the board would elevate the concerns of bus and rapid riders in much the same way that having RTA Board President Charles Lucas, a paratransit user, on the board has led to improvements in paratransit service.
"Building an active and engaged Board of Trustees that addresses the perspective of riders will allow RTA to provide a strong vision of what transit could be for Cuyahoga County," CPT said in their press release.
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