COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A city program aimed at making Columbus roads safer is expanding.
Since 2021, “Operation Taillight” has repaired brake lights, head lights, turn signals and more to qualifying residents, and the cost is covered by the city.
“It means so much, especially in a time like right now,” said Shalonda Hendrix. “I mean with rising housing costs and utilities, I didn’t know if or even when I would be able to get those things fixed. So it saved me a lot of money I could put towards other things I need to pay.”
Hendrix got the lights on her car fixed through the program in April. Operation Taillight also includes an inspection of fluid top offs.
“I had no idea when I got it fixed how much money it saved me until I got the breakdown,” she said.
The city has been working with Columbus State, Lindsey Automotive and Mr. Transmission Milex Complete Auto Care on the program. Matt Boily, owner of Mr. Transmission, said many of the cars they were working on needed more work than just the lights. City Council recently approved $175,000 to cover the cost of that work as well.
“It’s really exciting to be able to go forward and fix those things for the people and actually make sure them and their family are safe as well as the people around them,” Boily said. “To be able to do those things is going to be a game changer.”
The program has helped 211 people with lights, according to Zach Klein, Columbus City Attorney. The program is run through his office. He said it makes the roads safer since more cars are running properly and it allows police to focus more on serious crime.
“There’s a lot of winners here, there’s people in the community who don’t have the financial means, they’re winning, public safety general is winning because cars are safer on the street, and then of course the small businesses that participate in this program are winners too,” Klein said.
Residents from households with incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty level are able to get the repairs, according to the ordinance passed last month.