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CRT Statement on Proposal for Increased State Transit Operating Assistance

Statement by Citizens for Regional Transit President Doug Funke:

"As the President of Citizens for Regional Transit, I want to personally thank Assemblyman Sean Ryan and Assemblywoman Karen McMahon for their leadership and support for public transportation in Buffalo-Niagara, and specifically for their effort to increase state financial support for NFTA maintenance, operations and capital improvements. Without an increase in state transit operating assistance (STOA), which have not kept up with our cumulative maintenance needs for many years, our bus and rail system will continue to degrade, as will the public transportation service that we all depend on. Lack of adequate funding for public transportation invariably leads to more deferred maintenance and degraded service, and ultimately digs a deeper and deeper fiscal hole to dig out of. Further, an inability to keep up with system maintenance and needed capital investments, not only degrades transit service, it also jeopardizes our ability to qualify for the federal funds needed for critical projects like the Buffalo-Amherst extension. Leadership and support from Assemblyman Ryan and Assemblywoman McMahon are critical and greatly appreciated.

I also want to applaud Sean and Karen’s specific inclusion of financial support for the purchasing of zero-emission buses and associated charging equipment, as a part of their financial proposal. With 40% of green house gas generation in Erie County coming from the transportation sector, moving from car-based travel to public transportation is critical for meeting Erie County’s commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. Transit provides significant reductions in greenhouse gas generation compared to personal cars. And by transitioning to non-polluting, zero-emission buses, the improvements are even more significant. We thank Assemblyman Ryan and Assemblywoman McMahon for their leadership and commitment to better public transportation in Buffalo-Niagara."