WXXI AM News

Local lawmakers calling for additional funding for RTS

Mar 3, 2017

Customers and transit advocates gathered at the RTS Transit Center Friday morning to urge Governor Cuomo to provide additional funding for public transportation.

The governor’s proposed budget holds funding flat for the Regional Transit Service, but advocates are saying a 2% increase is necessary to maintain services and make the kind of changes that are needed to be successful as new technologies and mobility options continue to emerge.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson said it’s essential to have a reliable transit system in ensure the quality of life in a community.

"Whether you’re talking about taking the bus to get to work, whether you’re talking about taking the bus to get to a doctor’s appointment, whether you’re talking about taking the bus to get groceries, or maybe to take your child to daycare on your way to work. These are requirements that many families have in our area."

Ericka Jones is a systems advocate for the Center for Disability Rights and says the public transit system is also crucial for the disability community.

"Without having transportation I wouldn’t be able to get to work, I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. So it really affects every single part of my life."

Bill Carpenter is the CEO of the RTS and said increased demand from customers and the prospect of more transit options such as vanpooling and bikesharing also influenced the request.

"The buses need to go different places then they do right now because there will be more options. That’s what we need to be able to afford to do is to cover some of those new places they need to go, and then to go there more frequently."

Carpenter said that a better public transit system helps connect people to jobs and sustain economic development efforts.