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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
Unless state lawmakers come up with more money, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) will run bus and rail service and two airports with about $9 million less than what agency administrators say is needed. And as it adopted its own $208 million spending plan on Thursday, the NFTA is now confronting the possibility of more funding reductions in the years ahead. Commissioners approved a study of its transit system – the first in several years.
New York City isn’t paying its fair share into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital plan budget, according to two Republican lawmakers, who are calling on Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio to rectify the financial shortfall. State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) and Assembly member Joe Borelli (R-C-Staten Island) called on de Blasio to “adjust” the city’s contributions to the MTA capital plan budget so that it keeps pace with inflation. Golden and Borelli charged that the annual contribution from New York City is approximately $100 million a year. That’s lower than the sum the city paid in 1982, the two lawmakers said.
Fifteen Assembly Democrats from across upstate are nudging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Senate to back a boost in funding for upstate mass transit systems. In a letter to Cuomo and legislative leaders, the lawmakers called for a $25 million increase in state money for public transportation systems and a new board to recommend ways to grow them upstate. Among others, the letter was signed by Assembly members Didi Barrett, D-Hudson, Columbia County; Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, Broome County; and Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the Borough Board this week included Bus Rapid Transit among its recommendations for adopted budget priorities. Also, in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Sen. Charles Schumer urged the U.S. DOT to accept the Woodhaven project into the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, making it eligible for 50-percent federal funding. The Woodhaven BRT price tag is estimated to be in the $200 million range.
The U.S. Transportation Department on Monday unveiled its $478 billion proposal to fund surface transportation repairs over the next six years — less than two months before funding is set to run out again. The FY 2016 budget proposes funding for a 6-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal that invests in modernizing the nation’s infrastructure. It includes $115 billion to invest in transit systems and expand transportation options.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is urging Congress to pass legislation to prevent a shutdown in transportation funding this summer. Lawmakers are struggling to come up with a way to pay for an extension of the current transportation funding measure, which is scheduled to expire in May. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said it was time for Congress to end the uncertainty about the availability of federal transportation funding.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
New York, NY -- The government seems more willing to subsidize a single business than the system that serves all New York businesses. Case in point: Digital-media company BuzzFeed scored $4 million in tax credits by letting the Cuomo administration know it was thinking of moving some workers across the river. But our politicians seem decidedly uneager to grant the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's request for $15 billion to fully fund its next five-year capital plan. This is not rocket science. Make the transit system hum, and the economy will hum.
Folsom, CA -- While transit agencies always have used technology, most of the focus and spending has been directed toward infrastructure. Information technology has played a relatively quiet role as a tool rather than as an overall strategy. But that thinking is beginning to change as mobile computing, social media, GPS, data analytics — as well as other forms of automation — have opened up new ways to improve service and, hopefully, attract more riders. Transit agencies are using advances in technology in three broad areas.
TRAINING AND EVENTS
SFY 2015-2016 State Budget Transit Funding Update
Register for State Budget Update Webinar
ADA Transit Training
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 offered in three convenient locations.
The program is open to one person from an agency. Seating is limited to 20 people at each location. If your agency wants to send more than one person, a waiting list will be established.
DESCRIPTON: NYSDOT/PTSB, Centro and Easter Seals Project Action Consulting are collaborating to present a one day hands-on workshop on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). It will cover Federal ADA regulations for transit operations, training of drivers, securement of devices, lift inspection, maintenance, and service animals.
The day will be split between lecture and hands on training, and is limited to 20 participants.