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TRANSIT AWARENESS DAY MAKES STATEMENT
New York public transit managers, labor and businesses made a strong statement at Transit Awareness Day on the necessity of the state providing transit funding in the proposed 2015-2016 state budget. Projected revenues for public transit outside the MTA in the preliminary budget are flat, endangering current service levels and leaving transit systems unable to meet the public demand for more. State Senators Joseph Robach (R, Rochester) and Martin Dilan (D, Brooklyn), Assemblyman James Brennan (D, Brooklyn), and New York State DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald spoke to transit supporters at the rally that opened the program, with the lawmakers pledging to work at securing the additional funding. The transit, labor and business attendees also met with their local legislators to emphasize public transit’s value to the communities they serve and to the state economy.For pictures and more, click here.
TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner doesn't want to see decreased public transportation services in Syracuse and central New York. Miner has sent a letter to Central New York Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Frank Kobliski urging the agency to avoid cutting Centro bus services. She also called on CNYRTA to hold a public hearing and allow customers to share their thoughts on the proposed service cuts. Miner's letter comes after Kobliski testified at a state budget hearing and said if there's no change to CNYRTA's revenue stream, the agency will need to reduce services.
You can read Frank Kobliski’s testimony here.
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) ridership continues to increase despite decreasing gas prices, the Board of Directors announced at their monthly meeting. System ridership for the final month of 2014 totaled 1.43 million boardings, which is 4% higher than the previous December. “CDTA continues to see increases in ridership even as we are seeing lower prices at the pump.” said David M. Stackrow CDTA Board Chairman. “Our customers see the value and convenience we provide and are opting to stay on board.” December 2014 ridership pushed CDTA’s fiscal year-to-date total to nearly 13 million boardings.
STATE NEWSAdvocates took to Albany for Transit Awareness Day to make noise for funding of the Staten Island North Shore Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. Members of the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF), Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Staten Island Community Board 1, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726, and the Staten Island Business Outreach Center delivered more than 2,000 petitions in support of the BRT line. The groups met with the entire Staten Island delegation in Albany to help convey the urgency and importance of the advocates' mission: getting the North Shore BRT project into the MTA Capital Plan.
Own a racehorse in New York State and you don't have to pay the sales tax. But operate a school bus as a contractor? That's a different story. The New York School Bus Contractors Association says taxpayers are footing a $14 million bill each year as a result.. Commonly, school districts that do their own busing are exempt from the sales tax. And in the mid-1990s, lawmakers and then Gov. George Pataki also exempted transit agencies from paying the sales tax on new bus purchases in recognition of the public and environmental benefits. NYSBCA said it just wants a fair shake, relief for tax payers and the end to a bureaucratic morass.
As part of a comprehensive campaign to raise public awareness about New York State’s infrastructure needs, Rebuild NY Now kicked off a statewide tour with a press conference at the future Solar City Facility in Buffalo. A diverse coalition that included local elected officials, members of organized labor, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and private local businesses stood together to highlight the state of disrepair of the state’s infrastructure and call for a renewed commitment to infrastructure investment.
President Obama’s proposed budget envisions a nearly half-trillion-dollar transportation construction spree. The six-year, $478 billion infrastructure plan would provide a 33 percent increase in funding for big, new public works projects. The nation’s transportation trust fund is set to run out of money this summer, but if this program is passed by Congress it will increase funding for transit by 75 percent and finance construction jobs across the country. But despite broad, bipartisan agreement on the need to fix thousands of aging and crumbling bridges and rail lines in cities and towns across the country, Mr. Obama’s proposal could face opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress because of the way he proposes to pay for the new construction.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
Toronto -- The Ontario government sold its last shares of General Motors stock to raise cash for highway and public transportation projects. Charles Sousa, the province’s finance minister, told the Toronto Globe and Mail that the sale is expected to raise $1.1 billion, which will go to the Trillium Trust fund and will be earmarked for transportation infrastructure improvements the province plans over the next 10 years.
TRAINING AND EVENTS
Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EST
A key component to the long-term success of public transportation authorities is the strong leadership of a rock-solid board-CEO strategic governing team. And experience has taught that CEOs who are truly “board-savvy” must take the lead in building such partnerships. “The Board-Savvy CEO” will provide participants with detailed, practical and thoroughly tested guidance in becoming truly board-savvy CEOs. The key characteristics of board-savvy CEOs will be described, and the primary partnership-building roles of the board-savvy CEO will be explored.
Presenter: Doug Eadie, the President & CEO of Doug Eadie & Company, a Tampa Bay-based firm that works with public and nonprofit organizations in the areas of board and CEO leadership and strategic change.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EST. Register here.
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