The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Columbus Priorities

Partnership with the city of Columbus brings opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni to succeed in and after college. Working together to gain research funding, represent students in city decisions, working with the bus system to transport to and from campus and sharing the work of Ohio State with our community keep us connected with our main campus calls home.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in June announced the city of Columbus as the winner of the $40 Million Smart City federal grant to pioneer the future of transportation. Public and private partners in central Ohio also committed $90 million to the project, and Vulcan, Inc., is providing an additional $10 million. Columbus will use the funds to carry out demonstration projects involving autonomous and connected vehicles and implement a variety of programs to improve traffic congestion and public safety, in addition to connecting underserved neighborhoods and improving sustainability efforts associated with automobile and transit activity in the region. Ohio State is the primary research partner on the proposal for the Smart City grant. Other partners include AT&T, Battelle, Car2Go, Central Ohio Transit Authority, Clean Fuels Ohio, CoGo, Columbus 2020, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Partnership, Experience Columbus, General Motors, IBM, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Ohio Department of Transportation, Rev1Ventures and Uber. Carla Bailo, assistant vice president for mobility research and business development, and Joanna Pinkerton, co-director of the Honda/OSU Partnership, coordinated involvement among university centers and affiliates with the city for the application. Seventy-eight cities applied for the grant, and seven finalists were identified from that group — Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland and San Francisco.

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Columbus voters in August rejected a measure that would have shifted Columbus City Council from a makeup of seven at-large seats to one comprised of 10 ward seats and three at-large seats. Nearly 72 percent of the 49,009 ballots cast were in opposition to the measure. Issue 1 was defeated in 95 percent of all precincts, with a small group of neighborhoods, including the University District, voting in favor. In the wake of the Issue 1 debate, Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther promised a review of how council vacancies and appointments are handled. City officials indicated that they also will consider a ward system during the Charter Review Commission, which must send recommendations to the mayor by February.

Votes in November approved a 6.92 mill levy for Columbus City Schools by a margin of 60 percent in favor to 40 percent opposed. The new money will fund operational expenses and deferred maintenance as well as increased staffing.

Roughly 73 percent of Columbus voters cast votes in favor of the 0.25 percent tax renewal levy for COTA services in November. Since 2006, COTA has used money from the levy to add new routes and buses and reduce wait times. Continued improvements are expected with the renewal, including the addition of the CMAX rapid transit bus, smart cards for rate payment and a smart phone app.

Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) is a partnership between the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and Near East Side stakeholders.

PACT’s vision is to create a healthy, financially and environmentally sustainable community where residents have access to safe and affordable housing, quality healthcare and education, and employment opportunities on the Near East Side of Columbus.

See the work being done with PACT