March 03, 2017
Customers, lawmakers, transit advocates and the Regional Transit Service (RTS) today called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to partner with the local New York State delegation to provide additional funding for public transportation in Rochester area and the Finger Lakes region. While the Governor’s proposed budget holds funding flat for RTS, additional funding is needed to maintain service, meet the growing demands of customers, businesses and partners in the community. RTS also needs additional funding to make the kind of changes that are needed to be successful as new technologies and mobility options continue to emerge. Ridesharing is expected to be approved during the current legislative session and Vanpooling and Bike Sharing initiatives are already underway in the City of Rochester.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Governor and our local New York State delegation to support public transit in our area, but the level of funding for public transit proposed by the Governor for the upcoming fiscal year needs to go farther,” said Bill Carpenter, CEO of RTS. “Emerging technologies and mobility options, along with increasing demands from millennials, senior citizens and people with disabilities is creating a new reality for RTS. This new reality means that we need to find ways to change how we operate to make it easier for customers to take advantage of transit as part of a network of options, while maintaining a high level of service for customers who build their lives around what we do. Additionally, new and existing businesses in our area continue to call upon RTS to help connect people to jobs and sustain economic development efforts. We can only be successful in that effort with an increase in funding for our operations and the allocation of capital funds that have already been approved.”
RTS joins transit systems across the state in asking the Governor and Lawmakers to support the following:
- A two percent increase in Statewide Mass Transportation Operating Assistance (STOA) to maintain essential services;
- An additional STOA appropriation of $15 million for transit expansion in Upstate New York to serve new economic development, improve access to jobs and meet growing demand for more service;
- An appropriation of 2017-18 capital funding of $84.5 million for transit systems other than the MTA as contained in the 2016-2020 Transportation Capital Program MOU, and;
- Over the next three years, allocate one-third of the $18.5 million in capital funding that was approved as part of the 2016-17 budget and included in the five year capital program for non-MTA systems but not made available in the first year of the plan.
“Members of the local New York State delegation have signed on to letters to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in support of increased funding for RTS,” said Carpenter. “On behalf of RTS and our customers, I thank the entire delegation for their support, especially those who signed the letters: Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Senate Transportation Chair Joe Robach, Assemblymember Harry Bronson, and Senators Rich Funke, Patrick Gallivan, Pamela Helming, Robert Ortt and Mike Ranzenhofer.”
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