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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Three pieces of legislation introduced by State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, have been signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Rob Ortt
The three bills -- S4523A, which prevents NFTA funds from being diverted; S5061A, in relation to the North Tonawanda Firemen’s Benevolent Association; and S3638A, which relates to those with Intellectual-Developmental disabilities -- are now in effect.

Legislation S4523A ensures that money allocated for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority goes directly to the NFTA’s general fund rather than being redirected to the state for governmental purposes. These dedicated funds are derived from taxes and fees that help support the NFTA and its subsidiaries. The additional financial assistance will help the NFTA sustain its services.  

According to the NFTA, the Metro carries about 94,000 people a day, has 1,119 full time and part-time employees, and utilizes 332 buses, 27 rail cars, 35 vans and four trolley-buses.

“This law is the result of a bi-partisan collaboration with my Assembly colleagues,” said Sen. Ortt. “We recognized the importance of the NFTA needing a reliable funding stream to help tackle its financial and structural challenges. This law guarantees that NFTA revenue will be reinvested in our local infrastructure – to move goods and workers and to attract tourists and jobs – not swept to the state general fund.”

Ortt has been critical of the NFTA, specifically in the cancellation of the 55L, which carried riders from Lockport to Niagara County Community College and back. The transit service said low ridership made the cut necessary. S4523A does not negate the cut.

Legislation S5061A amends a law written in 1903 for the North Tonawanda Firemen’s Benevolent Association. The amended law removes the $100 cap that was placed on members of the association for funeral expenses.

Legislation S3638A ensures that the state’s public policy of providing support and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will continue for nonprofits that provide those services under the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Some of the services include residential, day and employment services. The measure comes after a plan to transition those with developmental disabilities into managed care, while long-term care services continue to be provided by nonprofits.

East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.


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