Message From Executive Director
There have been few times in the history of theCNYRTA that have presented greater challenges for the Authority than the present.
We are thrilled that more people have turned to Centro - our ridership is in its seventh consecutive year of growth. Many are first-time users who are now “on board” with public transportation.
However, we are equally concerned that the current economic recession will make it difficult for us to maintain the comprehensive level of services our customers currently enjoy.
The recession has crippled two of our largest funding sources: the State of New York and the local real estate market (via the mortgage recording tax). This transit system relies on those monies to pay for fuel, drivers and other costs associated with providing our services. At the end of the fiscal year 2008-09, we faced a $2.4 million shortfall, forcing us to dip into our reserve funds. Now, with additional deficits looming, we have reluctantly taken steps to selectively reduce or eliminate services, and for the first time in 14 years we must ask our customers to pay more for their bus rides.
We are grateful for the funds provided to the Authority through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – or “stimulus money” – some of which has allowed us to shield our customers from additional impacts of the recession. The ARRA funds appear to be a “one time only” fix and likely not available in coming years when this Authority may face more severe deficits.
Despite all this, there is good news.
We have made significant progress on the relocation of our main transfer hubs in Syracuse and Utica. Each project is fully funded and will not be delayed because of the economic recession.
We are on schedule to replace more than 100 buses in our fleets over the next five years and we will do so in a manner that will provide greater economic stability for years to come and advance our commitment to using eco-friendly fuels.
The recent resurgence of public transportation has allowed us to forge new partnerships with area institutions and community agencies. As a result, our services are now reaching a broader cross-section of the cities and neighborhoods we serve.
All of these positive developments bode well for the future of public transit in Central New York as we maneuver our way through these tough economic times.