"I served my three years [on the RTA board] in the way that I know how," he told Scene by phone. "I tried to shake up the status quo and challenge the way we were operating. The county's choice seems to be a return to the status quo. I think they just don't understand how important this transit agency is to the region economically."
During Elkins’ three years with RTA, he helped delay a proposed fare hike, questioned outsourcing, and vainly pushed for a local sales tax hike. He also helped work out the departure last March of long-time President George Dixon III amid allegations of taking undeserved RTA heathcare benefits and the phasing out of former General Manager Joe Calabrese, now a senior advisor due to leave in 2020.
Elkins said it was frustrating, for example, to hear his board colleagues speak so passionately about the need for due diligence. "In this county, we have spent an insane amount of taxpayer dollars on funding for professional sports facilities," Elkins said. "If due diligence and research matter to us, we would never have done that because all of the research, right up to the Federal Reserve, says spending money on those facilities does not ever generate an economic return. Does research and data really matter to us? Only when it's convenient, it appears."
"And this is why," Elkins told Scene, referencing the RTA's funding crisis. "We have foundational economic infrastructure going ignored in this county. When we start using taxpayer dollars to pay for the shiny stuff, it makes it that much harder to go back to the voters to pay for basic economic necessities."
On Jan. 13, 2016, Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor K. Elkins(link is external) was elected by the Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers Association to fill the seat of Euclid Mayor Bill Cervenik, who retired.