Officials blame lack of public transit for failed GOP convention bid

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Officials in Columbus, Ohio, are blaming a lack of public transportation options for the city’s failure to win the right to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, the Columbus Dispatch reports

Republican Party officials winnowed the list of cities they are considering to host the GOP confab during the next president election last month to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas, excluding Phoenix and Columbus. 

Columbus City Council President Andy Ginther attributed the snub from the GOP to the city’s lack of public transportation alternatives, according to the report. 

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“One of the missing pieces (in bidding for a large convention) was the ability to get around our city easily,” the paper reported Ginther said.

Columbus has a network of bus routes operated by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). The agency has also recently launched a downtown circulator route known as Cbus that is similar to Washington, D.C.’s popular Circulator buses. 

Many of the other cities in the running for hosting the GOP convention, like Dallas, Denver, Cleveland and Las Vegas, have train systems like light railways and monorails, however. 

Columbus is considering expanding its circulator bus system if ridership on the initial route is successful, according to the report. 

“If this isn’t successful, it certainly doesn’t make sense to add more of the same,” COTA CEO Curtis Stitt told the paper.

Columbus officials are expecting 200,000 riders to board the circulator buses this year, the report said.