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It seems like an implausible situation to face in 2013 but politicians of a mostly-white Ohio suburb did everything they could to stop primarily minority bus riders from riding through a nearby city. The politicians only backed down when they were threatened to lose millions of dollars that go toward their federal highway fund.
The Ohio city council in Beavercreek has been constantly fighting the construction of bus stops in their area for years. When the stops are built, it will give commuters access to shopping malls and other fun activities. Three quarters of those bus riders are minorities. The case came under fire because of its scrutiny from a local group who fights for equality called Action in Dayton. The group filed a claim in August 2011. The Federal Highway Administration found that the group was correct and that the local politician’s actions violated the 1964 Civil Rights Acts. Denying the building of the new bus stops would be harming people of color who would need the bus stops to get to work, medical treatment, commerce and school.
The FHA made it extremely clear that if they didn’t reverse their seemingly racist choice they would lose $10 million of their federal highway funding. The city council tried to put off deciding on the decision for months, but this past week, in a 5-2 vote, they finally backed down. This will allow the city to build new bus stops. Of course council members are not so happy about backing down.
Despite their best efforts to say this had nothing to do with race, one councilwoman’s explanation of the back down made it more obvious that race was most likely the issue here. Councilwoman Melissa Litteral said they only voted for the stops to be built because their “backs are to the wall.”