The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit will not face budget cuts as the Senate and House have agreed to restore 5340 transit program funding and give New York almost $100 million for its various transit operations.
The provision has been added to a transportation bill that will be voted on later in the week. Originally, an amendment proposed to the bill would cost New York transportation nearly $100 million each year, according to a press release by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The proposed amendment would have cut transit funding, costing TCAT $207,000 annually, The Sun previously reported.
Schumer led the fight against the amendment in the bill passed by the House only a few weeks ago, advocating the replacement of the bill with the 5340 transit provision. This provision provides funding to several agencies throughout the state, according to the release.
“Our regional transit agencies have been lifelines for our communities and major drivers the New York State economy for a generation,” Schumer said in the release. “This deal will ensure they can continue humming as that collective economic engine for upstate New York in the years to come.”
In 2013, federal government funds accounted for 10.6 percent of the TCAT’s budget, according to its website. The TCAT will now receive that money without much issue, said Patty Poist, communications and marketing manager for TCAT.
“So long as we follow federal guidelines, and we do, such as adhering to federal procurement regulations, equal opportunity and civil rights law, we receive these funds,” Poist said.
Without this funding, TCAT would have significantly less funds to cover daily operations and servicing costs, including bus replacements and facility maintenance, Poist said. With money from the federal program, the TCAT can continue to focus on its service to the community.
Jazz Munitz ’19, who said he uses the TCAT weekly, was relieved to hear that TCAT federal funding was restored.
“Compared to other colleges and universities located in rural areas similar to Ithaca, the ability for us as students to access nearly every sector of the 14853 life is an invaluable resource to have,” Munitz said.
Poist said she and other TCAT employees have felt the pressure of the economic downturn and appreciate the continued funding.
“We are extremely relieved that the funding will be restored, particularly at a time when we need more money, not less, especially for capital needs to replace our aging fleet of buses,” Poist said.
As time continues, TCAT expressed a desire to acquire more funding, enabling them to improve their service in the area.
“We are not out of the woods yet as TCAT, and transit agencies all over the country, have many underfunded needs,” Poist said. “TCAT has identified that it will need at least $5 million over the next five years for bus replacements and other capital needs.”