Senator Cooney Fights Governor's Proposed Transit Budget Cuts

(Rochester, NY)Senator Jeremy Cooney (Rochester—District 56) pushed back against Governor Cuomo’s proposed 9.4% cut to State Operating Assistance (STOA) funds for upstate mass transit. Senator Cooney is the only member of the Rochester delegation to serve on the Transportation Committee. 

“The proposed funding cuts in the Governor’s budget will reverse the progress our state has made to increase access to public transportation, especially in rural regions of upstate,” Senator Cooney said. “The residents of New York also want green transportation options and these budget cuts delay our long-term emissions goals.”

Senator Cooney addressed the potential effects of the funding decrease in a joint legislative budget hearing with Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA, known as “RTS”) CEO Bill Carpenter. 

The New York State Department of Transportation distributes about $3.0 billion annually in STOA funding to approximately 130 transit operators across the state, including RTS. Over the past 5 years public transit ridership has grown about 15%, and it is estimated that 70% of trips taken on public transport are work related.

“The citizens of Rochester rely on RTS bus service. While we may not have subways, that doesn’t mean investing in upstate roads and buses is any less needed. I look forward to working with RTS to ensure our local bus service, our drivers and their modernization efforts will not be negatively impacted by this year’s budget,” Senator Cooney concluded.

Senator Cooney Addresses Bill Carpenter (RGRTA) at Joint Transportation Hearing