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Ceretto leads fight for region's mass transit

by jmaloni
Tue, Jan 31st 2012 05:15 pm

A representative from Assemblyman John Ceretto's, R-I-Lewiston, office will address the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority tonight at a regional forum hosted by the transit agency. A statement from Ceretto detailing his support for increasing state funding to the NFTA in order to ensure reliable mass transit for Western New York residents and avoid fare increases for commuters will be read during the event for public record.

"Governor Cuomo's proposed budget calls for an additional $2.9 million in funding for the NFTA, a far cry from the $10 million that it needs to close its deficit," Ceretto said. "Fortunately, the Legislature still has time to address this issue. I will continue to work with my colleagues to increase New York's commitment to our commuters in the finalized state budget."

Over the last few months, Ceretto has publicly spoken out regarding Albany's treatment for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year, when the business received $1.88 billion to avoid rate hikes on the New York City subway system. In comparison, the NFTA only seeks $10 million to close a deficit largely created by state cuts. Ceretto believes downstate interests are hijacking the transportation needs of Western New York.

"This is a classic example of the regional chauvinism, which exists in Albany," he said. "The $10 million that the NFTA needs to support its operations and provide low-cost and reliable transportation for thousands of commuters is a drop in the bucket compared to what Albany spends on a wasteful and corrupt downstate transportation bureaucracy."

"We are not asking for much, just the funding our region needs to support its mass transit system, one that is a vital tool, not only for commuters, but for Western New York's economic development," Ceretto said. "Over the next few weeks I will continue to work with my colleagues to fix the state budget to ensure that Western New York receives its fair share in mass transit funding."

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