July 16, 2013 – Suffolk County, NY - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Legislator Jay Schneiderman today announced that the New York Metropolitan Transit Council Program Finance and Administration Committee approved the distribution of $3,965,934 in federal funding over three years for Suffolk County to expand Sunday bus service as of January, 2014. Suffolk County will match these funds with additional state aid the county received. This is the first key approval for the Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant which must now bereviewed and approved by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
While this funding will allow Sunday service to be expanded to routes throughout the County, recent reports have shown that the pilot program begun in 2011 by Legislator Schneiderman has been a major success with ridership levels on the S92 and 10C routes both up year-to-year. Over the first four Sundays of the season, ridership on the S92 route increased by 38 percent and increased on the 10C route by 36 percent.
“Expanded Sunday bus service will provide opportunity and access for thousands of Suffolk County residents,” County Executive Bellone said. “By leveraging additional state aid with federal grant dollars, I am pleased that we are finding creative opportunities to expand this service in a fiscally responsible way. I applaud Legislator Schneiderman for his leadership to improve transit opportunities for Suffolk County residents.”
“This is a major step closer to a significant rollout of needed Sunday bus service throughout Suffolk County,” Legislator Schneiderman said. “The fact that we are seeing major ridership increases demonstrates that Sunday bus service is meeting a major unmet need.”
“Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauds Suffolk County for applying for federal funds to complement local funding for bus service improvements impacting nearly 7 million annual Suffolk County Transit riders,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “This new funding will support one of the largest service expansions in the system’s history, benefitting riders, businesses, the environment and every Suffolk County resident’s quality of life.”
County Executive Bellone and Legislator Schneiderman worked together to put together this program to increase Sunday bus service using increased State Transit Operating Assistance (STOA) funds. In addition to increasing Sunday service, Suffolk will reduce the budget deficit by using approximately $800,000 in STOA funds to reduce the $28.6 million subsidy Suffolk Transit receives out of the county’s operating budget.
“I want to thank our state delegation for securing this aid which will allow us to expand service and reduce the deficit,” County Executive Bellone said.