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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
Lobbying efforts by local groups and elected leaders are targeting a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that will see no increases made in state operating assistance for transit systems around New York. That proposal flies in the face of public transportation advocates who say by increasing financial support for transit systems, like the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, will aid local businesses and encourage more economic development initiatives.
The MTA’s Long Island Railroad has received a commendation from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for earning TSA’s highest rating of “Gold Standard” on their 2014 Baseline Assessments for Security Enhancement for their dedication to building a strong security program. The program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. Five other transit agencies nationwide achieved Gold Standard status in 2014.CENTRO has scheduled a series of public hearings on its plan to close a projected $5 million dollar deficit in the upcoming fiscal year, with significant service changes and a restructuring of its fare media in all of its service areas. The shortfall is the result of years of major revenue streams not keeping pace with increased costs. Three principal revenue streams, namely –the Mortgage Recording Tax, New York State operating assistance, and member county contributions-have increased on average only ½ of 1 percent in the past seven years collectively. These revenue streams are outside the control of the Authority. The first public hearing is March 9th in Rome. The rest of the schedule is to be announced.
Westchester lawmakers and commuters are asking the governor to make a new investment of $17.4 million in operating aid for downstate non-Metropolitan Transportation Authority suburban transit systems, $25 million for upstate operating assistance, as well as a capital investment of $100 million for both the suburban downstate and upstate public transportation systems. "Public mass transit is vital to New York's economic health and its prospects for growth," Assemblyman Steve Otis (D-Rye) said in a statement.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to spend the state’s $5.1 billion settlement windfall on infrastructure, economic development and smaller projects like the state fair and farmland. Now, in the thick of budget season, Senate Democrats have a proposal of their own. The Democrats proposed their Fair New York plan that would invest the largest chunks of the money in affordable housing, transportation infrastructure and school infrastructure.
New York has steadily increased spending on highways and bridges over the past decade, including more federal funds in the past five years while that support lagged in most states, according to federal data analyzed by The Associated Press. Total state spending on its aging highway system rose from $6.6 billion in 2003 to $8.5 billion in 2013. That includes construction, maintenance, administration, bond payments, grants to
municipalities, law enforcement and safety. That's up 29 percent over the decade, though only 2 percent when adjusting for inflation.
The heads of state departments of transportation will convene Feb. 24-27 for the annual Washington Legislative Briefing by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, an event that will draw key policymakers to meet with the state leaders in the nation's capital. Among those slated to address the state agency CEOs are U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx,
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and the T&I Committee's ranking member, Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
Figures compiled by The Associated Press show the total amount of money available to states from the Federal Highway Trust Fund has declined 3.5 percent during the five-year period ending in 2013, the latest year for which numbers were available. During that span, the amount of inflation-adjusted federal highway money dropped in all states but Alaska and New York. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials estimate that annual road and bridge spending by all levels of government is falling $32 billion short of what is needed.
Canada's members unanimously passed Bill S-221 in the House of Commons, which will make it an aggravating circumstance that the judge must consider if the victim of an assault is a public transit operator, defined to include drivers of not just city and intercity buses and surface rail, but also school buses, taxis, ferries and subways. "We were very pleased to see that this bill will become law," said the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s President/CEO Michael Roschlau. "Protecting our transit service providers and operators is a priority for the industry - one we see being advanced today by the government, with support from all parties in the House of Commons.
TRAINING AND EVENTS
The New York Public Transit Association, the Transit Training Institute and NYS PTSB present another in its series of regional training programs. This free program will provide information on Federal ADA regulations for transit operations and hands-on training on the use of securement devices and be will be offered in three convenient locations.
Attendees will leave with knowledge of requirements for applying ADA regulations to the operation of their system, a practical use of securement devices for today's mobility equipment, inspection of buses equipped with FMVSS 403 Public Use Lifts and guidance to bring back to the bus property for an appropriate ADA operations policy and to teach drivers proper techniques. Bring your questions.
An attendance certificate will be issued. RTAP reimbursement for expenses associated with this training is available for RTAP eligible systems. Refreshments and lunch will be served.
Thursday, April 16, 9:30am-2pm, Greater Glens Falls Transit System, Queensbury, NY (Space is limited)
Thursday, April 23, 9:30am-2pm, Regional Transit Service, Rochester, NY (Space is limited)