Here Comes Bus Rapid Transit Money.

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Press Office. (EDITED) April 28, 2014:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the 2014-2015 State Budget designates $20 million to support implementation of recommendations by the New NY Bridge Mass Transit Task Force (MTTF). The recommendations include a range of improvements to support a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system between Rockland and Westchester counties that is anticipated to increase transit ridership by 10,150 people per day in the region and cut commuter travel times by 20 to 25 percent.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state’s application for a $26.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) matching grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide additional support for the BRT system and other MTTF recommendations.

The 31-member MTTF panel is made up of elected officials from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, along with transportation experts, professional planners, transit advocates and other regional stakeholders. It was co-chaired by New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison and New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.

The TIGER grant application includes the following short-term project elements:
· New Bus Stations with amenities and improved pedestrian connections,
· A “Smart Corridor” on Route 59 with technology-focused traffic improvements,
· A “transit boulevard” on Route 119 in White Plains that allows buses to run faster, and;
· Ramp Metering along I-287 to manage congestion and increase transit speed, reliability, and efficiency.
The MTTF, established at the request of Governor Cuomo in December 2012, was tasked with making recommendations that are fiscally viable and meet the transit needs of the region, targeting major residential, commercial and employment corridors. The group issued its final report on February 28, 2014 and included the following:

Short-term Recommendations for the coming five years
· New BRT Stations and Vehicles
· High-Tech Transit Signal Priority Systems
· Simple, Legible Routing
· Dedicated Transit Lanes
· I-287 Congestion Control: Ramp Metering
· Traffic Signal Improvements
· Route 59 “Smart Corridor”
· White Plains Access and Station Area Study
· Corridor Preservation Study
· Interchange 10 Reconstruction / South Nyack Study
· New I-287/87 Interchange 14X Study
· Transportation Demand Management Programs
· Transit-Oriented Development
· West-of-Hudson Rail Improvements
Mid-term Recommendations, for up to 15 years after The New NY Bridge opens
· White Plains Station Redevelopment
· Interchange 11 Reconstruction
· West-of-Hudson Rail Improvements
· In-Line BRT Station at the Palisades Center
· New BRT Stations Along the Proposed Routes
· Expanded Park and Ride Facilities in Rockland County
Long-term Recommendations, for 15 years or more after The New NY Bridge opens
· Passenger Service on the West Shore Line
· East-West Rail Options (Light Rail or Commuter Rail)
The MTTF met 12 times between late 2012 and early 2014 to develop its transit recommendations. In addition, 18 working sessions were held with local stakeholders to further refine the proposal.

The full Mass Transit Task Force report can be found here: http://www.newnybridge.com/documents/index.html.

More information on the USDOT TIGER Grant Program can be found here: http://www.dot.gov/tiger.

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