Ceretto requests low-cost power for NFTA to help close budget shortfall, protect services
Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, today continued his fight to urge New York state to invest in regional transit in Western New York. Writing to incoming New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil Quiniones, Ceretto is requesting that NYPA provide an additional eight megawatts (for a total of nine) of low-cost power to Western New York, specifically, to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.
"The services NFTA provides to Western New Yorkers is a necessity for current economic sustainability and future economic growth," Ceretto said. "My constituents and others across the region are using the transit system to get to work, to go shopping, and its place in our economy is undeniable. NFTA needs predictable revenue streams and operating costs, which will allow for less fluctuation in range of services. I am requesting that NYPA provide eight more megawatts of low-cost power to the NFTA in an effort to stabilize its finances and maintain the current services provided."
"In back-to-back sessions in Albany, a $1.88 billion bailout to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and, most recently, a $250 million tax cut for downstate residents and small businesses was approved. At the same time, the MTA receives 80 percent of its power in the form of low-cost power from NYPA.
"This power is generated locally by the Niagara Power Project, and it should benefit Western New York first. I am redoubling my efforts and requesting this low-cost power for NFTA in the best interest of the Western New York economy."
Ceretto previously asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore $10 million in previous cuts to NFTA to help eliminate its $15 million deficit. Ceretto was quick to note the seemingly special treatment the MTA has received in recent years.
"My constituents and the people of Western New York need this transit system. We are asking for $10 million and low-cost power we develop, not the billions the MTA received."
Ceretto has since spoken to Quiniones following his nomination to replace Richard Kessel as head of NYPA. Ceretto has invited the new CEO to Niagara County to discuss how low-cost power can serve as a catalyst to economic growth in the area. Ceretto also has discussed his "Empower Niagara" petition with Quiniones. "Empower Niagara" is a petition to have a Niagara County representative on the NYPA board of trustees. Ceretto's office has also met with Empire State Development President Kenneth Adams on this subject, noting that NFTA customers are using this transit system to get to work and help the economy.
"Predictable, sustainable revenues and costs are essential for NFTA to maintain its excellent and affordable services. I am pleased that Assembly members Peoples and Gabryzak are on board with this deficit-reduction proposal. We must look long term, however, and NYPA's investment can ensure sustainability long term. That's what Western New York needs and deserves."