Tarrant County commissioners deny Trinity Metro funding to provide free rides to polls

Tarrant County commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday not to contribute toward funding Trinity Metro’s free rides to polling locations.

The election transportation partnership service has been in place since 2019, though the county has not provided funding every year. It provides voters free rides to polling locations along fixed routes on election days and during early voting.

Trinity Metro asked for a $10,000 reimbursement for providing the service for primary elections, which represented a 50-50 split. Trinity Metro did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

County Judge Tim O’Hare said the county should not subsidize the service and said public subsidization of transportation to the polls goes against federal law, citing a case in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“That is not the responsibility of county government. It’s not the responsibility of taxpayers,” O’Hare said. “Taxpayer funds should not be used to get people to the polls.”

Democrat Roy Brooks took issue with the O’Hare’s comments and the motion to reject funding. Brooks said it is the county’s responsibility to make voting as accessible as possible.

Tarrant GOP chairman Bo French posted on X Tuesday that the “deep state in Tarrant Co. is alive and well” in reference to the requested reimbursement from the county.


French asked the court’s Republicans to vote against the issue, alleging the rides were a way to bus Democrats to the polls.

In an announcement about the program in February 2022, then County Judge Glen Whitley, a Republican, said: “It is crucial that people get out to vote in the primary election, and access to transportation should not be a barrier to getting to polling locations. We are pleased to be able to once again offer free rides, including accessible services for the elderly and mobility-impaired, through this partnership.”

Services in the program include Trinity Metro’s bus routes, ZipZone rideshare, Access paratransit, Tarrant County Transportation Services, Northeast Transportation Services and Arlington’s Via and Handitran.