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City of Norman to hold special election over funding for public transit services

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Breea Clark

Norman Mayor Breea Clark at the Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration Oct. 14.

A special election over funding for public transit and Cleveland County Public Safety Services will take place in Norman on Tuesday. 

A city-wide election will be held in Norman from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Voters registered in Norman will be able to vote on two different ballots — one city ballot and one county ballot — involving a one-eighth percent sales tax, said Mayor Breea Clark. 

The city ballot pertains to funding for public transit in Norman, which recently began transitioning from the Cleveland Area Rapid Transit (CART) System to Embark, The Daily reported. The public transit ballot measure comes after OU ended its partnership with the city of Norman, Clark said.

Clark said the one-eighth sales tax on the city ballot will not increase sales taxes above the current level. The goal of the ballot measure is to find a way to “fully fund” the public transit system for the city of Norman. 

By voting yes, Norman will take steps toward a long-term goal of regional public transportation that could be valuable for college students, Clark said. The Regional Transportation Authority of Central Oklahoma would allow people in Norman to travel to Moore, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City and Del City along a commuter railway.

“The first step to a successful commuter rail system is a successful bus system ... While students may not ordinarily take the bus, once that regional transit comes online, there’ll be opportunity to go all the way to Oklahoma City without needing a vehicle,” Clark said.

Clark said she hopes OU students take advantage of the opportunity to be engaged in local government.

“I have been really inspired by how engaged the OU student body has been on a lot of social justice issues, as well as involving the political scene of the state and national level,” Clark said. “Often the local level gets overlooked. This is exactly the kind of election that can really have an impact on the city, whether or not they end up staying here long term.”

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