(WHBC) – SARTA’s CEO is applauding the Ohio House for passing a transportation budget that includes $200 million for public transit over the next two years.

Kirt Conrad says SARTA has been working with the community on putting together a list of public transportation needs in the community.

“We found that to restore Sunday service and to add other things to get people to work that SARTA needs about another 3 or 4 million dollars a year, so this funding here would help us do that.”

He says the $200 million allocated in the budget bill represents Ohio’s largest-ever investment in public transportation and reverses a years-long trend that saw the state slip to 38th nationally in support for transit systems.

He praised State Representative Scott Oelslager, of North Canton, who serves as Chair of the House Finance Committee and State Representative Thomas West, of Canton, for working together to craft and pass the transportation budget.

Even though the additional funding is far from being officially secured just yet, Conrad’s hoping that the overwhelming, bipartisan vote in the House will send a strong signal that the time has come for the state to adequately fund public transportation.

The transportation budget now moves to the Senate for consideration.