Tuesday, March 31, 2015

PUBLIC MEETING: State and County Funding for Local Transit



Wednesday, April 15, 5:30–6:30pm  ~  Doors open at 5:00pm
United Way, 742 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo
Free and Open to All
Panel Speakers:
  • State Assemblyman Sean Ryan
  • Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke
  • Lynda Stephens, Subsidy Action Committee, Coalition for Economic Justice
President Doug Funke will moderate a panel discussion on the need for increased state and local funding for the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority and its impact in sustaining and growing Western New York’s economic renaissance. This discussion will consist of brief talks on the need to increase transit funding from New York State and Erie County and the role of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency’s tax exemptions, followed by a question and answer component. The impetus for this needed increase is to address a $10 million shortfall in the NFTA’s current budget. 

Assemblyman Ryan has been leading the recent charge in Albany to address this need. His plan recognizes the positive economic impact of encouraging increased ridership on public transportation as a caveat of additional funding for the system.

Erie County currently provides minimal portions of tax revenues to the NFTA. The Erie County IDA exempts some of these taxes in its incentives to developers and businesses, further limiting the funds available to transit from Erie County.

The Western New York region has recently seen cutbacks in transit services and is now threatened with further cutbacks of critical routes if budget solutions are not found. These transit services facilitate the upward mobility of urban residents who otherwise lack access to well-paying jobs and are needed by area businesses.

Not investing in Western New York’s public transportation is sure to impede future growth and lead to ever worsening traffic congestion on already over-used public thoroughfares such as the Youngman, Kensington and Interstate 90.  Concern about Buffalo’s sustained commercial and labor market growth is everybody’s business, come join us and learn more on April 15th.

Reports such as  Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment (2014), written by Glen Weisbrod for the American Public Transportation Association, have shown that labor market mobility has an outsized positive impact on a region’s economic health through travel time savings, transportation cost savings, travel reliability and safety improvements.  Thus it stands to reason that increased availability and use of public transportation will not only alleviate traffic congestion and reduce less obvious environmental costs, but will also help sustain and expand Buffalo’s renaissance.

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