Last week, Reconnect Rochester went on a “Virtual Trip to Albany” to champion public transit and safe streets for Rochester residents (and all New Yorkers). We spent the day meeting with state legislators and their staff and having great conversations about what needs to be done to move towards our vision of a robust and equitable transportation network. We’re fortunate to have many allies in our State delegation to push for better multi-modal transportation across New York.
We’d like to shout out Reconnect Rochester Board members Victor Sanchez, Bill Collins, and Jason Partyka for devoting their time to the effort, and and huge thank you to all the legislative offices who took the time to meet with us: Assemblymembers Demond Meeks, Harry Bronson, Jennifer Lunsford, Sarah Clark, Josh Jensen, and William Magnarelli, and Senators Samra Brouk, Jeremy Cooney, and Tim Kennedy. Check out more screenshots from the day!
Read our asks for Albany legislators below. Wondering what YOU can do to advocate for better transportation for all New Yorkers? Check out the links below from our partners at the New York Public Transportation Association and the NYS Safe Streets Coalition.
New York State 2022-23 Transportation Priorities
RTS continues to be a vital service for our region as we recover from the pandemic. While COVID relief funds have helped to cover revenue loss and increased expenses, robust long-term, recurring funding will be necessary to grow and sustain the system. Governor Hochul has shown strong commitment to public transit, and we urge the Legislature to build upon those proposals in the final budget.
- Increase State Mass Transit Operating Assistance (STOA) for upstate transit systems by 36% ($49 million). The Governor’s Budget only proposes a 13% increase for upstate systems.
- Include $159.5 million annual funding level for non-MTA transit through the entire proposed 5-year capital program ($698 million 5-year total) in the final budget.
- Continue the STOA hold-harmless for formula systems impacted by pandemic ridership loss.
- Support Rider Representation (S3559A/A7822) – requires the appointment of a transit dependent and para-transit dependent representative on various transportation authorities.
Bicycle and Pedestrian (Active Transportation):
Pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities are on the rise, which is why Reconnect Rochester has been working with the NYS Safe Streets Coalition to prioritize legislation to address this silent epidemic. Consider sponsoring or co sponsoring the Crash Victims Rights & Safety Act (CVRSA) to make our streets safer:
- Statewide Speed Limit (S2021/A01007) – allow for lower life-saving speeds across New York State
- Sammy’s Law (S524/A4655) – allow for lower life-saving speeds limits in New York City
- Complete Streets Funding (S3897/A8936) – increase state funding where the municipality agrees to fund a complete street design feature
- Complete Streets Application (S8394/A08624) – require consideration of complete streets design for projects which receive federal or state funding
- Complete Streets Maintenance (S5130/A7782) – include complete street design features in resurfacing, maintenance, and pavement recycling projects
- Right to Safe Passage (S4529/A547) – require drivers pass bicyclists at a safe distance of min. 3 feet
- DMV Pre-Licensing (S1078A/A5084) – educate NY drivers about safely interacting with vulnerable road users
- Crash Victims Bill of Rights (S8152/A9152) – guarantee rights and a voice for crash victims and their loved ones in legal proceedings
In addition to the above legislative package, these are other bills related to bicyclists that we would encourage you to consider sponsoring or co-sponsoring:
- S920/A3104 – allow for what is known as an “Idaho Stop” which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights like stop signs
- A8656 – repeal certain provisions of the vehicle and traffic law and would allow e-bikes to be ridden anywhere regular bikes can be ridden
- S3080 – establish the ride clean rebate program which would allow e-bikes and e-scooters to be eligible for a 50% rebate with a maximum of $1,100
Train and Long-Distance Bus:
Bus and train users tend to be lower income and people of color, and deserve equitable funding for their long-distance transportation that is comparable to the investments made in airline travel. Consider including funding for a bus terminal extension for the Louise Slaughter Rail Station in the new budget or when additional Federal funding is available.
Please sponsor or co-sponsor S4264A/A6967, the “Climate and Community Investment Act”, a Green New Deal for New York State. This would help create jobs and funding for carbon reduction and environmental justice programs.