March 04, 2016
Rochester, NY: Transit advocates, lawmakers 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 the Rochester area and the Finger Lakes region. Governor Cuomo has committed $8 billion to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City, and upstate transit systems like RTS, public transit customers and advocates are urging him to provide proportional funding.
“Without accessible transportation options, people with disabilities can become effectively trapped in their own homes, unable to get to work or the doctor’s office or to visit family and friends,” said Stephanie Woodward, Director of Advocacy for the Center for Disability Rights. “As we work to get more disabled people out of nursing facilities and into their own homes in our community, we must ensure that adequate public transit options are available and accessible everywhere people with disabilities want to live. We urge the Governor to provide more funding for transportation in the Finger Lakes region so that RGRTA can work with us to improve and expand their services to meet the needs of people with disabilities.”
“Transportation is a critical issue for older adults. While we are working to link multiple transportation options, RTS remains the hub of our transportation efforts,” said Ann Marie Cook, President/CEO of Lifespan. “RTS has to be robust and strong in order for older adults in our community to age successfully in their neighborhoods. I am happy to join Bill Carpenter and other community leaders to urge the State to provide additional funding for public transportation in the Finger Lakes region.”
“Less than one-third of jobs in our area are accessible within a 90 minute trip using public transit—this is what we are working to change,” said Mike Governale, President of Reconnect Rochester. “The unfortunate reality is that we're caught in a vicious circle where the people who we'd like to convince to ride public transit choose not to because the system is underfunded. Meanwhile, those who have no other choice—the people who rely on transit—are being underserved and falling deeper into poverty.”
“Transportation should never be a barrier for our residents in need of training, career development and employment,” said Peter Pecor, Executive Director at RochesterWorks! “The need continues to grow to support available, affordable and convenient public transportation for our current employees and employers, our jobseekers and youth, and the future members of our workforce. The partnership between workforce, economic and skills development and training requires a sound, viable and innovative transportation system for success.”
“New York’s many public transit systems offer safe, reliable and cost effective transportation options that are essential to the economic wellbeing of communities across the state,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle. “Unfortunately, many of the transit agencies that service these communities are struggling to keep up with the demands of increased ridership, diminished state and federal funding and rapidly aging infrastructure. I urge my partners in state government to act now and join with me in working toward the development of sustainable and fair transit funding solutions that will meet the needs of the millions of New Yorkers whose livelihoods depend on public transportation.”
“As Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, I have made it a priority to advocate for regional parity and equal funding for Upstate transportation projects, including our roads, bridges and transit systems,” said Senator Joe Robach. “Every day, countless Upstate New Yorkers depend on reliable public transit; we need to ensure that this quality service continues and that our transportation needs are met appropriately.”
“It is important that Upstate New York’s public transit systems receive the necessary state funding to provide valuable, low-cost transportation services to our citizens, particularly those in rural areas such as my district," said Senator Michael Nozzolio. “We have every right to the same level of transportation services as New York City and additional state funding is vital in our efforts to repair our local roads and provide quality public transportation.”
“Upstate transit systems deserve proportional funding in this year's budget after downstate’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority secured $8 billion from the state,” said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer. “A boost in funding for public transportation in the Rochester region means better economic opportunities and a higher quality of life for residents in our community. I applaud the Regional Transit Service and the many other community groups in the City of Rochester for raising this issue, and I'll be championing their cause at the State Capitol as the budget process moves forward.”
“Just like our roads and bridges, we have a responsibility to make sure our public transit systems are reliable and meet the transportation needs of the communities they serve,” said Senator Patrick M. Gallivan. “It is imperative that we bring parity to the budget process so that the RTS and other upstate systems are treated fairly when it comes to state funding.”
“As we continue to push for Upstate's fair share in transportation infrastructure funding, we can't lose sight of the important work that our public transit system does in our community every day,” said Senator Rich Funke. “I'm proud to join a strong coalition of partners to call for renewed investment in Upstate public transit systems, like RTS, which will drive job growth, economic investment, and our quality of life here well into the future.”
“I am pleased to partner with my colleagues in both houses as we fight for Rochester’s share of transportation funding,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “Today, more and more families in Rochester rely on safe, reliable public transportation to get them to work, do their shopping, keep appointments and then back home again to their loved ones. A fully funded public transportation system is one avenue on the journey out of poverty, and I am committed to ensuring that the State meets its obligation to putting our families on the road to a better life.”
“I believe there should be parity between the funding for New York City MTA and RGRTA, especially so we can service the working poor, elderly and disabled population in our area,” said Assemblyman Mark Johns.
“Public transportation is a vital link that gives our students, parents and hard-working individuals the mobility to receive an education, conduct business and contribute to downtown development,” said Assemblyman Peter Lawrence. “Increased operating aid for public transportation will insure that RTS continues to support our local efforts to grow jobs and enhance our quality of life.”
“Demand for public transportation in our community continues to grow and the community needs us to do more, but the Governor’s proposed budget will only allow us to maintain the service we currently provide,” said Bill Carpenter, CEO of RTS. “We are asking the Governor for additional funding so we can be the kind of partner the community needs us to be. We want to work with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and be part of the solution to achieving self-sufficiency. We also want to find new and creative ways to work with lawmakers and partners such as the Center for Disability Rights, Lifespan, Reconnect Rochester and RochesterWorks! to improve and expand the service we provide to the community.”
For all other information, visit www.myRTS.com.
Regional Transit Service (RTS) is a regional transit authority established by New York State with more than 900 employees who proudly serve customers and business partners in Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne and Wyoming counties. Recognized as one of the best-run transit systems in the nation, RTS provides safe, reliable and convenient public bus transportation to more than 18 million people each year. We carry out our mission by connecting our customers to jobs, school, healthcare, shopping and recreational activities every day. For more information, visit www.myRTS.com.
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