03.04.08

Schumer Demands Federal Dollars To Support Essential Transit Service In Cattaraugus County

City of Olean is Currently Shouldering the Financial Burden of Providing Essential Transit Service, Drawing Thousands from Emergency Expense Fund to Cover Costly Transit UpkeepSchumer Urges FTA to Provide Funds to Continue Bus Service in Cattaraugus County, as well as Expand Service to City of Salamanca and Establish Better Linkage to St. Bonaventure UniversitySchumer: Public Bus System Vital to Residents With No Other Transportation Options

With the City of Olean shouldering the financial burden of providing essential transit service for its residents, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to provide the Olean Area Transportation System (OATS) with vital federal dollars to support important bus service in Cattaraugus County . The City is currently drawing $5,500 a month from a contingency fund usually reserved for emergency expenses to support the system's continued operation, which provides bus service from Olean to the Town of Allegany and links the downtown area to shopping plazas and the Olean General Hospital .

Today, in a personal letter to FTA Administrator Simpson, Schumer urged the FTA to approve the City of Olean 's application for a $62,364 grant under the Section 5311 Financial Assistance for Other than Urbanized Areas Program, which would help the city cover the costly upkeep of their transit system.

"The transit service provided by the City of Olean is critical in the lives of many local residents, especially the elderly, who have no other transportation options and rely heavily on these buses to get from point A to point B," said Schumer. "Beyond that, a working, affordable transit system is vital to economic development initiatives across Cattaraugus County , and I will continue to press the FTA to deliver federal dollars to help Olean shoulder this enormous financial burden."

OATS currently provides bus service from Olean to the Town of Allegany and links the downtown area to shopping plazas and the Olean General Hospital , but the City has been forced to take money from an emergency expense account to cover the burgeoning costs of upkeep.

Funding under the FTA's Section 5311 Financial Assistance for Other than Urbanized Areas Program would ensure that the vital service that OATS provides is continued.  In addition, this funding would provide the necessary momentum to expand service to the City of Salamanca and establish better linkages to St. Bonaventure University. This transit service is critical to many people, particularly the elderly, who have no other transportation options to jobs, shopping, and medical appointments.  On a broader scale, the provision of affordable transit service in Cattaraugus County is a crucial part of ongoing efforts to increase economic development, quality of life, and access to healthcare and other essential services.

Today, in a letter to FTA Administrator Simpson, Schumer urged the FTA to provide these crucial funds, noting that in the absence of federal support, this rural city will have no choice but to discontinue the Olean Area Transportation System.  

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