The state Department of Transportation said it is undertaking a comprehensive study of New York's funding of public transportation systems across the state, as two state lawmakers from the Buffalo area press the state for additional funding for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.
Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, contacted DOT Commissioner Matt Driscoll in July, complaining that insufficient state aid has forced NFTA to cut bus routes, hurting those who need public transportation the most.
Driscoll told the lawmakers in a letter that the DOT would complete by Nov. 1 a study of funding problems faced by public transit systems statewide, including examining how the state pays for public transportation.
"We are working more aggressively to better improve mass transit in challenged environments across the state, whether it's in an urban area like Buffalo or Albany or it's in a suburban and, as importantly, a rural area where there are real challenges," Driscoll told The Buffalo News on Tuesday. "I'm not going to speculate on what money may go where because we're not completed with that analysis, but it really boils down to the level of service provided. If there are other areas in the state that lack the same service levels that they need then we would put our dollars there first."
Kennedy and Peoples-Stokes applauded Driscoll for undertaking the study.