A delegation of state lawmakers from Buffalo is offering to help secure more funds for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority – provided it agrees to explore cutting some of its recent fare increases and restoring some of its previously cut routes.
State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy was joined by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns in pushing for the commitment from the NFTA.
“We’re fighting to get the state to give Western New York its fair share by increasing funding for the NFTA, but we want to ensure any increase in state aid is driven directly back into the community through affordable fares and service restorations,” Kennedy said Friday.
“If the state does its part to support the NFTA, then the NFTA must do its part to support Western New Yorkers,” he added.
NFTA Executive Director Kimberley A. Minkel on Friday said the authority is willing to work with the legislators on increasing its state operating aid.
“I’m not reading it as a deal-making proposition, but as our Western New York contingent in the New York State Legislature advocating on our behalf,” she said.
“They want some assurance that if they are able to get an increase in state funding for us, we would commit to providing a level of service that mirrors the level of assistance that they can receive from the state.”
The three lawmakers outlined their offer and subsequent request to the authority in a letter that NFTA officials received Friday, noting that they will be pushing to secure $8 million in additional state funds for the authority.
“I commend the NFTA on their fiscal discipline and ask for their assurance that funding will go where it’s ultimately needed,” Peoples-Stokes said.