By Silas White – New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) conducted a press conference Aug. 16 at the White Plains Transit Center to announce a major new investment to expand mass transportation in Westchester County.
The creation of mass transit service was part of the recommendations of the New New York 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.
“To keep New Yorkers working, we must make the necessary investments,” said Heastie. “So today, we are excited to announce $13.5 million dollars will be provided to expand public transportation from White Plains to Port Chester.”
Paulin worked with her colleagues on the New New York Mass Transit Task Force, she said, and helped identify the improvements and investments necessary to improve transit options.
“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,” Paulin said.
Paulin said a bus mass rapid transit system was deemed by the task force as the most flexible and environmentally safe way to provide transit and help spur economic growth in Westchester and lower New York.
“A transportation system is a series of parts that…grow the economy and increase jobs,” said Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) at the press conference.
Also in attendance at the event was White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, who called the bus rapid transit system a “critical component in the modernization of our regional transportation system and to the economic vibrancy of White Plains.”
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. 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, according to a press release.
The first phase of buses on the new routes will roll out in October of 2018.