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NFTA fares would be cut for 2 years under proposed pilot project

Inside Metro rail station
Inside Metro rail station

A pilot program that would cut NFTA fares in half for two years is being touted as a way to strengthen the local transit system.

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan joined other local leaders at a news conference where they proposed a multi-phased plan aimed at addressing numerous challenges facing the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

Supporters are convinced that reducing fares to one-dollar for two-years would boost ridership, cut pollution and help the economy. Ryan says the move would also help many different segments of the community, including the elderly, the region's growing immigrant population and the working poor.

Meanwhile, NFTA Executive Director Kimberly Minkel called on the state to increase its commitment to public transit. She noted that Metro fares make up only 28 percent of the cost of providing bus and rail service.

The seven-step plan to strengthen public transit would also include a call on Niagara County to follow Erie County's lead and allocate one-eighth of 1 percent of its sales tax to the NFTA. Officials note that the authority provides transit service in both counties, yet only Erie County provides support through its sales tax.

The proposals contained in the comprehensive transit plan would require actions by numerous governmental bodies before they could be implemented.

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