BUFFALO, NY - Metro buses still run and Metro trains are still on the tracks But the NFTA says it's hard to keep providing that transit service when they look at their state funding in Governor Cuomo's latest budget.
And local state lawmakers like State Senator Tim Kennedy agree. "We're about eight million dollars below where we need to be as it pertains to the budget proposal. We wanna make sure that Buffalo and Western New york gets its fair share of funding. The formula is incorrect. It doesn't take into account the passengers, the lane miles as it does to other upstate cities. And believe this or not..it doesn't even take into account the light rail transit that we have here in the city of Buffalo."
But to lead that fight in Albany for more NFTA funding, Kennedy along with Assemblymembers Crystal Peoples Stokes and Mickey Kearns, want the NFTA to pledge to maintain current routes and hold the line on fares. And perhaps to even restore some service and lower some fares. NFTA Spokesman Doug Hartmayer says " Depending on the level of additional funding that we hopefully will receive we certainly and definitely will look at fare options that address the needs of our senior riders, our children, and individuals with disabilities."
The NFTA's funding dilemma surprises some considering that the authority's board chairman is developer Howard Zemsky who is the Governor's close friend and economic development advocate. We asked Senator Kennedy "If you have such a strong advocate chairing that organization and he can't get it done, why do you think you as lawmakers are going to be getting extra funding ?
Kennedy replied: Well we're just getting out of the gate right now. And in our conversations with the NFTA, and in our conversations with Howard Zemsky, I believe that they are with us in this fight. They're willing to make that commitment. They are open to that commitment to ensure that fares don't go up and that routes are not cut."