The NYS Legislature has its opening session on January 4, 2017, and there are transportation issues to address this year.
First, a review of 2016:
The bad news: two bills we were following failed in the 2016 session. The O’Mara/Brindisi bill (S5794/A8202) was vetoed by Gov. Cuomo. Apparently, he did not see the need to set up an interagency committee on rural public transportation and expects to deal with the issue during budget deliberations. The Rozic/Lanza bill (S07608/A09872) died in committee. This bill would require the NYSDOT Commissioner to develop a five-year capital plan subject to public review. One can only hope that it will be revived for the 2017 session.
There is good news. A bill to remove the mortgage recording tax from IDAs tax exemption packages (S07442/A09490) was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo on September 30th. This is good news for transit authorities across the state, so that this small revenue stream is protected. Transit authorities receive 0.25% of mortgage recording tax revenues generated in their local areas.
Going forward, there is momentum to do planning for a new Amtrak station in Buffalo, motivated by the decrepit condition of the downtown station. Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins are champions for this effort, so federal dollars will flow.
Meanwhile, the Tappan Zee project moves along and decisions are bring made concerning the I-81interstate that crosses Syracuse. Our local leagues— please let us know how to be involved!
Save the date: Transit Awareness Day in Albany on January 31, 2017, organized by New York Public Transit Association. I am planning to attend, and will carry the transportation concerns of the LWVNYS with me. The day includes a briefing, legislative appointments, and a rally at the Legislative Office Building. Please contact me if you have any specific items for me to bring to the meeting and to our legislators at that time.
Transportation Specialist: Gladys Gifford (email@example.com)