Albany, NY (February 2, 2016) – Transit mangers, riders, labor and business leaders drove home the message that transit is critical to New York’s economy and quality of life during Transit Awareness Day on Tuesday, February 2. The event, which culminated with a pro transit Summit, emphasized the significant value of public transit and the importance of increased transit investment.
“The transit industry keeps New York moving,” said Carm Basile, President of the New York Public Transit Association. “Every day, New Yorkers make over 9 million trips on public transit to get to work, to businesses and shopping, and to schools and health care. We are absolutely vital to New York’s economy,” said Basile.
Demand for transit is growing. Transit ridership is increasing across the state and the public is demanding more and better service. “We need the state to invest in our industry so that we can continue to meet the needs in our communities across the state,” said Basile.
NYPTA advocated at the Capitol for a sustainable funding plan for upstate and suburban downstate transit and a multi-year state commitment to transit capital needs and operating aid growth. New York’s transit systems urged the Legislature to support an annual capital investment of $100 million per year with additional operating assistance for Upstate and Suburban Downstate transit systems above and beyond the Executive Budget. To provide this capital funding, in proportion to state capital aid to the MTA, requires a 5-year investment of $545 million.
A contingent of NYPTA members met with their legislators in the morning and advocated for funding and support. In the afternoon, participants attended a Public Transportation Summit. The Summit included a question and answer format of distinguished panelists including transit leaders, elected officials and community group representatives, who were able to share their views and expertise.
The Summit reflected a broad range of speakers including:
Carm Basile, NYPTA President, CEO CDTA (Master of Ceremonies)
Bill Carpenter, NYPTA Vice President, CEO RTS
The Honorable Joseph Robach, Chairman NYS Senate Committee on Transportation
Tim Ellis, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Ron Epstein, NYS Department of Transportation
Veronica Vanterpool, Tri State Transportation Campaign
Garry Douglas, North Country Chamber of Commerce
The Honorable Kathy Sheehan, Mayor City of Albany
Chris Boylan, Director Government and Strategic Partnerships, General Contractors Association of NY
Kevin Corbett, Empire State Transportation Alliance
Corey Bixby, ATU Local 1321
Bill Carpenter, CEO of the Regional Transit Service in Rochester, served as a panelist at the Summit and conveyed his enthusiasm for the event. “The Summit conveyed the vital and far reaching areas transit permeates in New York’s economy. There are 75,000 transit workers as well as thousands of private sector jobs in manufacturing and suppliers across the state. The message is clear: transit means jobs.”
NYPTA hopes their efforts to bring these issues to the forefront through continuing education and the Summit will be recognized with increased funding and support. "Public transit is a ready and willing partner to work with the Governor and State Legislature to spur the state’s economy," said Basile.
NYPTA joined with the New York State Transportation Equity Alliance (NYSTEA), a coalition of environmental and rider advocacy groups, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Transit Workers Union (TWU), and business partners to support the State’s investment in public transportation.