Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, is urging state leaders to provide $10 million to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to help close the authority's $15 million deficit and avoid service cuts and layoffs.
Ceretto noted that, unlike the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which he said has a long track record of gross fiscal mismanagement - and recently received a $1.77 billion bailout from Albany - NFTA's fiscal problems stem mainly from state cuts and increased transportation costs.
"The NFTA is the state's second largest public transportation system, and provides safe and reliable transportation to millions of people a year - people who depend on the system to get to work, school and doctor appointments," Ceretto said. "Ten million dollars is pale in comparison to what New York spends on public transportation in other parts of the state. Yet, it is critical funding that will help enhance the region's ability to attract and create jobs while providing top-of-the-line public transportation."
Ceretto noted that the NFTA has cut costs and increased revenues in each business center, saving more than $10 million since 2009. However, these internal measures alone will not erase the deficit.
"The state needs to act," Ceretto said. "The NFTA is too great of an asset to let it wither and die on the vine of ill-conceived cuts. By making a reasonable investment in NFTA today, we can help the authority close its deficit, and ensure that the NFTA continues to provide quality service to Niagara County residents in the future."
In addition to public transportation, the NFTA also operates both the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and Niagara Falls International Airport, and manages more than 2,000 acres of property in Western New York.