The Central Ohio Transit Authority will return to voters this fall seeking support for a 10-year, 0.25 percent sales tax renewal.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority will return to voters this fall seeking support for a 10-year, 0.25 percent sales tax renewal.

If approved, it is expected to raise $62 million a year for the transit authority.

The tax applies to anyone who makes retail purchases in Franklin County and portions of Union, Delaware, Licking and Fairfield counties -- where the cities of Columbus, Dublin, Reynoldsburg and Westerville extend into those areas.

Because it is a renewal tax, people will not notice a difference in price on their purchased goods, said Curtis Stitt, president and CEO of COTA.

"We're asking for the same thing we've had for the last 10 years," Stitt said.

The current levy expires March 31, 2017. The transit authority has a second, separate 0.25 percent sales tax that was made permanent by voters in 1999.

Stitt said the money is needed to maintain the current level of services and meet the needs of the growing region.

COTA has demonstrated fiscal responsibility in many areas, Stitt said. For example, the agency has saved millions of dollars in fuel costs by transitioning its diesel-powered bus fleet to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas, he said.

Other accomplishments also have been made, such as the start of CBUS, a free downtown circulator that has provided more than 1 million trips, and AirConnect, launched earlier this week. It provides direct service between downtown and Port Columbus International Airport.

Marty Stutz, spokesman for COTA, said AirConnect is an express service that delivers passengers to downtown hotels and the Greater Columbus Convention Center in about 30 minutes.

Likewise, it transports people from downtown to the airport in the same amount of time.

"For people who live in the downtown or live near downtown, it offers a quick and easy alternative to driving and worrying about the hassle of parking their cars, whether short-term or long-term (at the airport)," Stutz said.

"For people visiting the community for events, conferences or conventions, it makes it easy to access downtown."