TSTC/RPA Forum to Explore What Regional Bus Could Mean for Westchester

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Regional Plan Association will be holding a forum on how regional bus would affect Westchester County on February 13 at 9 am, at the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle (click for map). Speakers and panelists include State Assemblymember George Latimer; Mayors Noam Bramson, Drew Fixell, Mary Foster, and Dennis Pilla; Westchester DOT Commissioner Larry Salley; and bus rapid transit expert Walter Hook of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Breakfast will be served. The event is sponsored by DMJM Harris.

Regional bus is one of the recommendations in the Ravitch Commission’s report on funding and reforming the MTA. While some of the Ravitch funding recommendations, such as a payroll tax, have received significant public attention, regional bus has not.

As proposed in the Ravitch report and described by MTA officials, Westchester’s Bee-Line and Nassau’s Long Island Bus would be consolidated into a new MTA Regional Bus Authority and the MTA would assume financial responsibility for running both systems. The new structure has the potential to streamline operations and end annual feuds between the counties, state and MTA over funding the systems, allowing Bee-Line to more quickly expand, upgrade, and maintain its system. The forum will address this potential, along with the management, labor and funding issues that would need to be overcome to make it a reality.

A regional bus authority could also accelerate the creation of a 21st-century bus system including more innovative routes like the successful Select Bus Service in the Bronx. Westchester planners will discuss the county’s plan to create its own BRT line and Walter Hook will describe BRT systems from around the world.

The program agenda is after the jump. Space is now extremely limited, so please RSVP by tomorrow, February 10. To RSVP, contact steven@tstc.org.

February 13th, Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle, 9am

9am-9:30am: Breakfast

9:30am: Welcome to Westchester. Larry Salley, Westchester DOT.

9:45am-10:45am: Bee-Line Bus: Current Challenges. Larry Salley, Westchester DOT; Ed Watt, Transport Workers Union Local 100; Chris Jones, Regional Plan Association; Kate Slevin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

10:45-11:00am: Break

11:00-11:45am: What Does 21st-Century Bus Service Look Like? An Overview of Bus Rapid Transit. Walter Hook, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy; Naomi Klein, Westchester DOT.

11:45-12:45: Elected official response panel
Hon. Noam Bramson, Mayor of New Rochelle
Hon. Drew Fixell, Mayor of Tarrytown
Hon. Mary Foster, Mayor of Peekskill
Hon. George Latimer, Assemblymember
Hon. Dennis Pilla, Mayor of Port Chester

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