Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and members of the Assembly's Westchester delegation today announced $13.5 million in new investments to enhance and expand public transit between White Plains and Port Chester.
"Access is an indispensable factor of economic development," said Speaker Heastie. "As we continue working to build bridges to success in communities across our state, investments in public transit and infrastructure are more important than ever. New Yorkers need affordable and sustainable transit options that ensure their connection to the local businesses, education and recreational opportunities that support families and our economy. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for acknowledging the importance of addressing Westchester's transit concerns and working with the Westchester Legislative Delegation to ensure they are addressed."
"An energy efficient, pedestrian friendly mass transit system has been a major priority for the residents of this region since the announcement of the new Mario Cuomo Bridge," said Assemblymember Amy Paulin. "It was my privilege to serve alongside my colleagues on the New New York Bridge Mass Transit Task Force and through those efforts we identified improvements and investments that were necessary to support the new and exciting economic growth in our region. As we look toward a cleaner, greener future for New York, transportation alternatives must be supported and adequately funded to keep residents, workers and families moving efficiently throughout our communities."
"Westchester and Rockland residents, including but by no means limited to my constituents in Harrison and White Plains, will benefit from the expansion of the Lower Hudson Transit Link," said Assemblymember David Buchwald. "Providing funds for an east-west mass transit route in Westchester County will help us connect for the first time Metro-North's Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines."
The creation of bus rapid-transit service was part of the Phase 1 recommendations of the New New York Bridge Mass Transit Task Force that was convened in 2012 to address the growing needs of the Westchester, Lower Hudson Valley region, one of the fastest growing regions in New York State. Growth in small businesses, retail, micro-industries and other economic drivers has increased the need for transit options that operate east to west, along the I-287 corridor. Currently, residents and commuters rely heavily on vehicular transportation as the most direct means for accessing communities between Port Chester, White Plains and Tarrytown.
"Upon the replacement of the bridge; access to public transportation is a vital resource for our communities," said Assemblymember Gary Pretlow. "I would like to thank the Department of Transportation, New York State Thruway Authority and members of the Mass Transit Task Force for the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System. Meeting the needs of our communities is a priority and I will continue to advocate for the improvement of public transportation for all commuters in the Lower Hudson Valley and throughout the state of New York."
"New buses and routes over the Hudson River and across Westchester will reduce pollution and congestion, help our businesses, and bring us together as a community," said Assemblymember Tom Abinanti. "Moving people-not cars- is better for the environment and good quality mass transit is more comfortable for commuters. I thank the Speaker for hearing our community's plea for State help to better our rapid transit system."
"I am thrilled about the $13.5 million grant to expand public bus service in Westchester County," said Assemblymember Shelley B. Mayer. "The Bee-Line Bus System serves thousands of people in my district, and for many it represents the major--if not only--way to get to work, go to school, or do their shopping. This grant will go a long way in easing the commutes of the families and seniors of Westchester County who use public transportation and in strengthening our public transit system. I thank my colleagues in the Assembly and Speaker Carl Heastie for his strong leadership on behalf of the Westchester Legislative Delegation and working New York families."
"Through the leadership of Governor Cuomo and the Assembly, these state funds will speed up improved mass transit service on the I-287 corridor and renew the involvement of local governments in the planning process to address the transportation needs of Westchester communities," said Assemblyman Steve Otis.
"I'd like to thank Assembly Speaker Heastie as well as our White Plains Assembly Members Amy Paulin and David Buchwald for securing the funding in this year's state budget to implement the White Plains to Port Chester line of the BRT as part of Phase 1 of this project," said White Plains Mayor Tom Roach. "The BRT system is a critical component in the modernization of our regional transportation system and to the economic vibrancy of White Plains. We want to ensure that people from both within Westchester County as well as the region can easily and efficiently access White Plains to work, shop and play. This funding will help make that happen."
"Thanks to Assembly Speaker Heastie and the entire Westchester delegation for advocating on behalf of the residents of Westchester. The limits of public transportation in Westchester has long been a barrier to the residents of the Village of Harrison. Improved transit options will greatly benefit Harrison's corporate corridor, increasing opportunities for both corporations and employees that are a vital part of our economy," said Mayor of Harrison Ron Belmont.
"There is great need and demand for a modern, frequent and affordable bus system serving the I-287 corridor between Westchester and Rockland Counties. While we were pleased with the state's commitment to implement Phase 1 from Suffern to White Plains, we were concerned with the lack of a timeline and funding to implement Phase 2 routes. We appluad Speaker Heastie and the NYS Assembly, particularly the Westchester delegation, for securing funds to advance Phase 2 throughout Westchester County and improving transit options for those who live and work in both counties," said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Earlier this year, $90 million in local capital and operating assistance was provided in the 2017-18 enacted state budget. In addition to this new $13.5 million grant, these monies will work to create a sustainable mass transit system that connects residents and businesses along the corridor as well as provide connections to major transit hubs in the City of New York. The Assembly has advocated for increased capital support for transit systems throughout the state amid record demand for sustainable transportation alternatives that ease vehicular traffic, support environmental goals and provide affordable alternatives for commuters.