On Monday Jan. 30th, Vision jioned with a bi-partisan, bi-county, group of supporters for LI bus service including small business, labor, human service, transit agencies and over 10 elected officials. The group called for a five point Emergency Action Plan to help stave off future bus cuts in Nassau and restore service from last fall’s cuts in Suffolk.
Among the recommendations included a NYS appropriation in this years budget, a $.50 fee tacked on to Uber or Lyft ridesharing legislation dedicated to local bus service, a portion of the MTA payroll tax reallocated to local LI transportation systems and future federal infrastructure funding to include bus service. Reprioritizing existing County funds was part of the proposal as well.
Great to see the unity between both County Presiding Officers and Minority leaders in what may have been the first gathering of this group of officials.
Special thanks to: Nassau Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, Suffolk Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Nassau Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, Suffolk Minority Leader Kevin McCaffrey, Nassau Legislators Rich Nicollelo, Rose Walker, Laura Curran, Steven Rhoads, Carrié Solages, Ellen Birnbaum; Freeport Trustee Debbie Mule, and Josh Slaughter from Leg. Kate Maguire Browning’s office.
Local Business included: Francesca Carlow from the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, Frank Camarano from the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce, Lois Howes from the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Darrin Green from the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce and Ron Beattie from the Suffolk Alliance of Chambers of Commerce and the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce.
Labor leaders and advocates included: Ryan William Stanton from the LI Federation of Labor, Deborah Hagen from TWU local 252, Ani Halasz from LI Jobs with Justice.
Human service leaders, environmentalists and other transit advocates included: Dr. Richard Koubek from the 18 member Suffolk Welfare to Work Commission, staff from, SILO, Free and Island Harvest, Jon Siebert from Friends of Long Island, Neal Lewis from the Sustainability Institute at Molloy, Rosemary Mascali from Transit Solutions and Vision’s Director representing the 90 organization LI Lobby Coalition.
Suffolk County Transit and NICE Bus also presented the status of their service and the importance of additional funding to preserve this mode of transportation for working Long Islanders.
Most importantly we heard from bus riders themselves: Aaron Michael from the LI Bus Riders Union who has created a real ground level advocacy group for bus service, John Michno from Westbury and Marilyn Tucci from Shirley.
This coalition along with the LI Lobby Coalition will take this message of needed bus funding to Albany on March 22nd but will be working well in advance of that for immediate solutions.
Check out media coverage including WPIX, News 12, Fios 1 News, Newsday, WCBS Radio, Able Newspaper.and others…..
Also please call your local state representatives to ensure that resources make it out to support our local bus service.
For more on this story, visit Newsday