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Cuomo releases: Parks/historic sites grants, St. Patrick's DWI crackdown, jobs for the disabled, LIRR track expansion, WTC tower run, new MTA buses, primary day voting.
Text of press releases.

For Immediate Release: 3/9/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $450,000 in state grants to 20 organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York State parks and historic sites. The grants, funded through the Environmental Protection Fund, will be matched by nearly $242,000 in private and local funding which will support projects to strengthen Friends Groups and enhance public access and recreational opportunities at parks and historic sites across the state.

“These grants will help preserve New York’s natural green spaces while also boosting tourism and strengthening local economies,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our parks, trails and historic sites are some of the best outdoor destinations in the nation, and this funding will help ensure they remain in peak condition for years to come.”
The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are administered by the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York, a statewide non-profit group. These dedicated groups raise private funds for capital projects; perform maintenance tasks; provide educational programming; and promote public use through hosting special events.

The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are designed to:

Enhance the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and promotion of New York State parks, trails and State historic sites;
Increase the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, volunteerism and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that promote, maintain and support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; and
Promote the tourism and economic development benefits of outdoor recreation through the growth and expansion of a connected statewide network of parks, trails and greenways.

Representatives of State Parks and PTNY unveiled the 2016 grantees at an event today at the Keeper’s House at Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park in Westchester County. The awardees are, by region:

Capital Region – total awarded: $33,389
Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park: $5,609 to install a series of kiosks along the route to the newly rehabilitated Dickinson Hill Fire Tower Historic Site, providing historical and cultural information on the area to the general public.
Friends of Schodack Island State Park: $3,400 to install two kiosks, one in each loop of the new park campground, and promotional materials to provide information to campers about the Friends group, the park, and the surrounding community.
The Olana Partnership: $24,380 to develop interpretive materials that will support new guided tours of the landscape at Olana State Historic Site as part of the 50th anniversary of Olana being saved from destruction.

Central New York – total awarded: $54,230
Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum: $45,625 to upgrade the position of Executive Director from part-time to full-time to better serve the educational needs of the area and boost tourism.
Friends of Fort Ontario: $8,605 to provide wireless internet access at Fort Ontario State Historic Site for the Friends and the public and to create a secure website and an online museum shop.

Finger Lakes – total awarded: $110,869
Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park: $75,000 to hire a full-time Manager of Corporate Fundraising and Major Gifts who will develop and execute a five-year capital improvement plan.
Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park: $14,889 to install interpretive signs for a self-guided walking tour of the former Civilian Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War site on park grounds, and signs attributing the Friends for its work protecting the historic CCC/POW camp and in the care of bluebird and purple martin houses within the park.
Friends of Letchworth State Park: $20,980 for materials and training that will enable increased volunteer recruitment and engagement to better steward the park and its trails.

Long Island – total awarded: $27,000
The Caumsett Foundation, Inc.: $27,000 to develop and implement a plan for programming in the Hay Barn and adjacent buildings that will generate revenue the Friends can use to maintain these historical buildings.

Mid-Hudson Region – total awarded: $103,725
Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct: $47,475 to design and equip a Visitor and Education Center (the site’s first) within the Keeper’s House, a National Historic Landmark that had previously been empty and unused.
Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Inc.: $35,000 to hire fundraising and social media specialists to raise the funds needed to refurbish the roads around Swan Lake (Brothers’ Path).
Walkway Over the Hudson: $21,250 to increase the organization’s capacity to attract and host tour groups through training, outreach, and the development of site-specific, multi-lingual materials.
New York City – total awarded: $45,392
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, Inc.: $33,392 to expand and implement print and digital advertising programs and new marketing initiatives to establish Four Freedoms State Park as a premier NYC destination.
Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park: $12,000 to replace damaged Adirondack chairs, cast iron tree grates, and broken light fixtures, and for a postcard campaign to the surrounding neighborhood to publicize these improvements and Friends-led volunteer events.

North Country – total awarded: $11,647
Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site: $7,212 to install a monument that will promote visitation to the site by adding Crown Point to the “Knox Cannon Trail,” correcting a 1929 omission that incorrectly left Crown Point off of this heritage trail.
Friends of the Nature Center, Inc.: $4,435 to replace and enhance the signage for all 13 trails at the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center at Wellesley Island State Park.

Southern Tier – total awarded: $10,748
Friends of Chenango Valley State Park: $5,998 to purchase supplies for the new Interpretive Center building, an outdoor movie theater system, and build three recycling stations for the camping areas.
Friends of Gorge Parks: $4,750 to achieve legal non-profit status for a new group that will steward Robert H. Treman, Buttermilk Falls, Taughannock Falls, Fillmore Glen, Watkins Glen, and Stony Brook State Parks.

Western New York – total awarded: $53,000
Friends of Midway State Park: $17,000 to boost visitation to the park and increase utilization of the new miniature golf course; profits from evening use of the golf course will further the Friends’ restoration and preservation efforts.
Friends of Knox Farm State Park: $36,000 to paint the clad exterior of the Main House and complete the restoration of the Main House and enhance the site’s appeal as an event space.

Governor Cuomo proposed the grant program as part of his 2015 Opportunity Agenda. Funding is provided by the EPF. The Governor’s 2016-17 Executive Budget includes a historic $300 million for the EPF, including a second year of $500,000 for the Park and Trail Partnership Program.

Senator Thomas O’Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said: "New York can boast of one of America’s outstanding systems of state parks, including a network of historic sites, parks and trails that is second to none throughout my legislative district in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions, as well as statewide. I applaud these state investments, through the Environmental Protection Fund, to help support the critical, dedicated grassroots organizations so important to the overall effort to beautify and promote these natural and historical attractions.”

Senator Rich Funke, Chair of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee, said: "Home to award-winning destinations like Letchworth State Park and Hamlin Beach State Park, our region is a world-class destination for families who are looking to experience all that Rochester and the Finger Lakes have to offer. These targeted investments will support the good work being done by volunteers who are helping to ensure our parks continue to attract visitors and enhance quality of life here for generations to come. Thank you to the Office of Parks, Parks & Trails New York, and the everyday citizens who continue to make our state parks great."

State Senator and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said: "I commend Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct for their hard work, without which this project would not be possible. This investment will boost local tourism and our economy by creating a Visitor and Education Center within the restored Keeper’s House. Investments like this are why I'm fighting to increase funding for the Environmental Protection Fund in the upcoming budget to allow for more projects in Westchester and across New York State that preserve our environment, create jobs and grow our economy."

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said: “This visionary grant program helps grassroots Friends organizations become stronger and more effective stewards of New York State’s parks, trails and historic sites. I applaud the public/private synergy created through the coordinated efforts of NYS OPRHP and Parks & Trails New York to enhance the support, maintenance and promotion of our invaluable parks system.”

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Chair of the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said: “This program harnesses the commitment of dedicated volunteers who work hard to support their local parks and I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Harvey and Parks & Trails New York for funding it again this year. We know that increasing the capacity and effectiveness of local grassroots Friends groups through this matching grant program provides enormous benefits for our parks and historic sites all across New York State.”

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti said: “As a longtime supporter of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Park, I applaud the use of EPF funds to better our parks and trails which provide families neighboring open space for recreation – they are the pathways that bring people back to nature.”

The Park and Trail Partnership Program, in addition to other grassroots efforts, complements Governor Cuomo’s commitment to revitalizing and transforming the State park system through his NY Parks 2020 plan. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor's NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020.

The 2016-17 executive budget proposal allocates $90 million toward this initiative. In addition, Governor Cuomo launched ‘I Love My Park’ Day, an annual volunteer day on the first Saturday of each May to improve and enhance New York’s parks and historic sites. For the fourth annual event last spring, 6,500 volunteers took part in over 200 cleanup, improvement and beautification projects at 95 state parks and historic sites, contributing 16,000 hours of volunteer service.

“Across New York State, Friends Groups are essential to the stewardship and promotion of our state park system,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for getting behind this innovative strategy to leverage the private fundraising and volunteer services our Friends Groups already provide to do even more, and I thank Parks & Trails New York for its work to make it happen.”

“The State’s investment in grassroots Friends Groups will complement Governor Cuomo’s extraordinary commitment to the revitalization of the entire state park system,” PTNY Executive Director Robin Dropkin said. “These grant funds will enable groups to leverage more private and federal funding, marshal more volunteer power, and augment the State’s historic investment in parks. We look forward to seeing the transformational results from these innovative and important projects.”

Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving the health and quality of life of all New Yorkers by working with community organizations and municipalities to envision, create, promote, and protect a growing network of parks, greenways and trails throughout the state for all to use and enjoy.


For Immediate Release: 3/9/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


New York State Police reminds drivers to not drink and drive this St. Patrick's Day

Effort begins Saturday, March 12 and runs through Thursday, March 17

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York State Police and local law enforcement will initiate special St. Patrick’s Day traffic enforcement efforts as celebrations begin this weekend. The effort will begin on Saturday, March 12 and run through Thursday, March 17. During this time, drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, and underage drinking and sales to minors details during the campaign. State Police will also be ticketing distracted drivers who use handheld electronic devices.

"State Police and local law enforcement will be out in full force over the coming days to help ensure a safe holiday," Governor Cuomo said. "This state has zero tolerance for reckless and impaired driving and I encourage all New Yorkers to celebrate responsibly in order to help prevent senseless tragedies."

During the 2015 St. Patrick's Day weekend enforcement effort, Troopers made 264 arrests for DWI and issued more than 14,000 tickets.

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said, "The State Police urge everyone to have a plan this St. Patrick’s Day. If you plan on drinking, designate a sober driver. A day of celebrating can quickly turn to tragedy because of impaired driving. Help us to keep New York' roads the safest in the nation by planning ahead to stay safe."

Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Acting Chair and Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "Motorists don’t just risk their own lives when they drive drunk or impaired – they put everyone on the road in danger, including those walking and biking. We thank our law enforcement partners for remaining vigilant in the fight against drunk and impaired driving, and urge New Yorkers to do their part to ensure everyone is safe on the roads this St. Patrick’s Day."

St. Patrick's Day is one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2010 to 2014 saw the loss of 266 lives nationally due to drunk-driving crashes. In 2014, alone, 29 people (28 percent of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over this period.

Choosing to drive drunk can ruin or end the life of the driver and others around them. Those who do face jail time, the loss of a driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of unanticipated expenses. An impaired driving charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000.

The New York State Police, Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following these steps for enjoying a safe holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road.

· Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
· Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
· If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
· If available, use your community’s sober ride program
· Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
· If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.

This effort is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.


For Immediate Release: 3/8/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


100 Disability Employment Organizations Receive funding as Part of the Employment First Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.4 million has been distributed to 100 organizations that provide employment services to individuals with disabilities via the New York State Employment Services System. This funding is part of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“This funding continues New York’s legacy of inclusiveness by helping provide the necessary employment services to individuals with disabilities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action is yet another example of our commitment to expanding opportunity to all New Yorkers.”

Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Initiative, created through Executive Order 136, is tasked with establishing policies and practices for government, community agencies and advocacy organizations to increase the employment rate of New Yorkers with disabilities, decrease the poverty rate of New Yorkers with disabilities; and encourage businesses to establish formal policies to hire people with disabilities.

More information on New York State’s Employment First Policy is available here.

A regional breakdown of the organizations benefitting from the funding is available here.

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State continues to lead the way on disability employment. Helping individuals with mental illness find meaningful work not only helps economically, it also plays an important role in the recovery process, fostering a sense of independence and pride. By working together, providing support for each step forward, we are truly creating a brighter future for New York.”

The Governor also announced that New York State has been awarded a training grant from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs which will provide comprehensive assistance in support of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative and allow for the training of up to 10,000 service providers in the provision of disability employment services.

NYESS, an integral part of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative, is the largest employment network for people with disabilities in the United States. To date, $2.4 million from the Social Security Administration has been received by 100 New York State organizations which have assisted 7,755 individuals with disabilities with employment services, helping 1,366 individuals find permanent employment. NYESS provides all New Yorkers – regardless of ability – with access to comprehensive employment-related services and supports including job matching with the approximately 120,000 jobs currently posted by employers in the state.

For more information about NYESS, please click here.

As one of 19 states to receive training assistance from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs in Fiscal Year 2016-2017, New York will receive 400 hours of training from nationally recognized experts in the field of disability employment. This training will focus on assisting community service providers in the cultural transformation necessary to support Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Agenda, and create strategies for the implementation of specific services aimed at improving the employment rate and reducing the poverty rate among individuals with disabilities.

To expand the reach of this valuable training, the State will pursue a “train-the-trainers” approach and prioritize the training of the leadership of disability employment trade associations affiliated with the New York State Inclusive Workforce Alliance. It is expected that each of the 20 members of the Inclusive Workforce Alliance will train 100 of their members in the delivery of evidence-based practices supporting the Employment First model.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said: "One’s physical and mental difficulties should not close doors on employment. I thank Governor Cuomo for providing training and assistance to organizations serving New York’s disabled community. I will continue to fight to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities have the same opportunities to enjoy the American Dream.”

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said: “I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for his administration’s efforts to improve employment opportunities around New York City and State for those with disabilities. Programs such as the Governor’s Employment First Initiative, increase the likelihood that those with disabilities and the communities that care for them possess every resource and opportunity to find employment. It is imperative that we continue to prioritize programs like these that help bring our economy back to full employment and create sustainable pathways for workers all abilities.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said: “A job gives individuals, including those with disabilities, not only a steady income but a sense of fulfillment and independence. This initiative will continue to build on the successful partnership between the Social Security Administration, Department of Labor and New York State to provide employment-matching services, and ultimately a job, to thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities, and train thousands more to help individuals integrate fully into the workplace.”

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said: “Protecting and prioritizing the needs of individuals with disabilities must remain a priority at all levels of government. The Employment First Initiative, through the utilization of the New York Employment Services System, will continue to provide disability service providers with needed resources to enable them to expand the capacity to provide critical assistance with employment. With over 2 million dollars of funding from the Social Security Administration, the playing field can be leveled for those who are most susceptible to facing higher rates of unemployment and poverty across our state. I will continue to work with the Cuomo administration and the related New York State agencies to make certain that all New Yorkers have greater access to these crucial resources.”

Congressman Paul Tonko said: “We boost our community, our economy, and ourselves when we help our friends and neighbors overcome unique challenges in the workplace. Everyone who wants work should have the opportunity to find it, and Governor Cuomo and I share an ongoing goal of providing that opportunity. I thank the relentless and determined NYESS team for their efforts in finding permanent employment for individuals with disabilities in our state, and I look forward to working with them to ensure the opportunity to work for each and every New Yorker moving forward.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said: “We must continue to tear down barriers to employment for people with disabilities. Every New Yorker who wants or needs a job should have access to the resources they need to get one. Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Initiative has already helped thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities find employment, and this additional investment by the federal government will ensure service providers get the critical training necessary to help New Yorkers find jobs and lift themselves out of poverty.”

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice said: “We have an important responsibility to help provide support and opportunities to New Yorkers with disabilities so they can achieve their full potential and live with dignity and independence. This federal funding will support hundreds of organizations across the state that help thousands of disabled New Yorkers secure good, permanent jobs, both by strengthening job placement services and by enhancing the training of the people who are on the ground providing these services. These funds will go a long way toward building a highly qualified, professional workforce that is fully committed to helping New Yorkers with disabilities find rewarding and sustainable employment.”

Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services said: “It is very gratifying to see the Governor and the Administration taking these steps to advance the promise of employment and greater economic self-sufficiency for New Yorkers with disabilities. Employment is the essential pathway out of poverty and towards wellness and full community inclusion.”

Michael Seereiter, President and CEO of the New York State Rehabilitation Association said: "Flexible funding and technical assistance are the most effective ways government can support innovation and creativity when it comes to assisting people with disabilities find opportunities for inclusion in our community. New York is to be highly commended for bringing these resources to bear on the efforts of providers of employment supports. Allowed to remain flexible, these resources will continue to make New York a leader among states in disability employment supports and inclusion."

New York State’s Employment First Initiative is supported by the following New York State agencies: The Office of Mental Health, the Department of Health, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Labor, the Division of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of Transportation, Empire State Development, the Education Department, the Commission for the Blind, the Department of Civil Services, and the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

NYESS is a registered employment network with the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Ticket-to-Work program, which supports career development for people with disabilities. NYESS coordinates these Ticket-to-Work services at the local level. NYESS is administered by the Office of Mental Health and the Department of Labor in collaboration with Commission for the Blind, State Education Department ACCES-VR, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the Office for the Aging.

More information on the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs’ Employment First efforts is available here.


For Immediate Release: 3/8/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


At Governor’s urging, LIRR officials re-evaluated initial plans and now plan to construct entire expansion within the existing right-of-way

Governor also announces full review of all grade crossings involved in project to improve safety for local residents, motorists and pedestrians

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his proposal to significantly expand the Long Island Rail Road by adding a third track along the Main Line will not require any residential property acquisitions. Initially, the LIRR anticipated acquiring portions of up to 20 residential properties to construct the expansion, but at the Governor’s direction the preliminary plan has been revised to ensure that the addition of a third track occurs entirely within the existing right of way, eliminating the need to acquire any residential properties.

Working with local mayors and the LIRR, Governor Cuomo has also committed to reviewing all seven street-level train crossings, commonly called “grade crossings,” along the LIRR Expansion project corridor. The Governor’s administration will work with the communities to eliminate the street level crossings in consultation with the communities to find the right approach to each of the seven crossings.

“This plan is a transformative project for Long Island,” said Governor Cuomo. “My administration is fully committed to mitigating the project’s impact on surrounding communities and improving safety overall. The project will move forward on the existing right of way – so that zero homes must be acquired – and we will work hand-in-hand with local communities to ensure safe, redesigned grade crossings. I’m proud to see this project moving forward, and I thank our local partners for their support.”

The Governor made these announcements at a meeting of the Long Island Association earlier today. Video of the Governor’s remarks is available here.

Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to move this new expansion plan forward in a way that mitigates impact on the surrounding properties.

Unlike previous plans proposed a decade ago, this new effort dramatically minimizes the impact on communities along the project corridor. The Governor’s proposal is a smarter, more stream-lined proposal that reduces the proposed corridor from 11.5 in old plans to 9.8 miles in today’s plan.

When the Governor first announced the proposal, the LIRR anticipated that 20 residential property acquisitions would be required to construct the expansion – which was a significant reduction from prior LIRR expansion proposals that would have impacted hundreds of homes. With today’s announcement, residential property acquisitions will no longer be required as part of the track installation.

Currently, the LIRR is limited by track capacity. At peak times, the LIRR is forced to run trains in one direction between Floral Park and Hicksville, making it impossible for reverse commuters and intra-island travelers. In essence, millions of people are limited by a system of transportation designed and virtually unchanged from 50 years ago. In order to modernize the system, improve commutes for customers, and reduce congestion on Long Island’s roads, the Governor has proposed expanding the LIRR’s capacity between Floral Park and Hicksville. The project will allow the LIRR to increase service, reduce congestion and train delays caused whenever there is an incident along this busy stretch of tracks and will enable the LIRR to run “reverse-peak” trains to allow people to take the LIRR to jobs on Long Island during traditional business hours.

“Governor Cuomo has responded to one of the major economic priorities of Long Island by committing to fund the LIRR Expansion Project,” said Kevin Law, Co-Chair of the Coalition and President & CEO of the Long Island Association. “The Coalition applauds his commitment and looks forward to helping advance public discussion of its implementation.”

“The LIRR Expansion Project is vital to the region’s economic future, as documented by the Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation,” said Dave Kapell, Co-Chair of the Coalition, former Mayor of Greenport, and a consultant to the Rauch Foundation. “We look forward to public consideration of how this Project can best enhance the future of Long Island while mitigating local impacts to the maximum extent practicable.”


For Immediate Release: 3/8/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


“This event is very important for New York and for the families who were impacted by the tragedy of September 11, 2001. That day we saw the true spirit of New York – the spirit that led first responders and volunteers to put aside fear and rush into danger in order to help those in need. Those brave men and women saved lives, and it is important that we continue to honor their service and sacrifice.

“Today, I am happy to announce that all parties involved in this important event have agreed to come together, and I am confident that remaining issues will be resolved so the event can happen again this year.”


For Immediate Release: 3/8/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


New technology to dramatically enhance customer experience – including Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, and digital information screens

2,042 new buses to have free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports by 2020

Renderings of new MTA buses available here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the MTA would add 2,042 state-of-the-art new buses to its transportation fleet over the next five years. The Governor, joined by MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and MTA New York City Transit President Ronnie Hakim, introduced the next generation vehicles to the public, as well as previewed enhanced amenities like USB charging ports and Wi-Fi. The new buses, which will replace nearly 40 percent of the MTA’s current fleet and represent a $1.3 billion investment of Capital Program resources, will begin hitting streets next month.

“We’re reimagining the MTA to improve services for all New Yorkers,” said Governor Cuomo. “Today’s world demands connectivity, and we’re meeting that challenge with state-of-the-art buses and a major overhaul of the MTA’s fleet. This upgrade will create a stronger, more convenient and more connected mass transit system for years to come.”

The buses, which will have a distinct new look and feel, are a vital part of the state’s efforts to significantly transform and modernize the MTA, its infrastructure, and its fleet to meet the growing demands of the 21st century. The state is contributing $8.3 billion to help fund the MTA’s $26.1 billion 2015-19 Capital Program.

All new buses will include added amenities designed to dramatically improve the overall customer experience, including the charging ports and free Wi-Fi hotspots on all rides. A new pilot program to install digital information screens on 200 buses will begin this year, providing customers with the most up to date information available on upcoming stops, available transfers, weather, and other information.

The Governor has called on the MTA to accelerate the deployment of new technology on city buses to improve the passenger experience and enhance a system that is more than a century old.

By 2020, 2,042 buses will be equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots. Seventy-five of the first new buses will make their debut in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of this year in Queens, and over the next two years another 70 buses will begin operating in Brooklyn, 209 in the Bronx, and 18 in Manhattan. The remaining new buses will be assigned to various routes throughout the five boroughs from 2018 through 2020. Additionally, the MTA is in the process of upgrading existing busses with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports. By the end of 2017, all express buses will be retrofitted with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports.

“Wireless connectivity is prevalent in the lives of our customers. More and more people are using Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and e-book readers on a daily basis and the MTA can accommodate this growing trend by introducing high-speed connectivity and charging ports on-board MTA buses," MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast said. “We are fully committed to meeting Governor Cuomo’s challenge head-on to ensure the entire MTA is focused on delivering improvements to the people who rely on us every day.”

"Our new buses will also have a new look and new energy to convey this dynamism as we bring rapid improvements to our customers," MTA President Hakim said. “More than 2 million people depend on New York City buses on its busiest days, and as the Governor has made explicitly clear, we must enhance our transit system to improve everyone's daily experience."

The Wi-Fi will provide a new level of connectivity to New Yorkers, bringing ease and convenience to those working, reading emails, or checking in on their social media accounts without impacting their cellular data plans. The number of USB ports on buses will range from 35-55, depending on the make and model, and will be conveniently located throughout the bus.

Digital information screens will also provide customers with travel information to reduce anxiety about missing stops and better enable customers to plan and arrive at their destinations on time. Buses will have two to three LCD screens mounted inside the bus, displaying everything from automated stop announcements, available transfers at each stop, news, weather and advertising as well as real-time communication from the bus command center.

With nearly 8.7 million travelers per day, these upgrades are part of a robust plan to fully transform the MTA into an innovative, state-of-the-art system with improved customer service and first-class amenities.

The first 75 buses slated to roll out this year are being manufactured by New Flyer Industries, which is planning to open a new facility Western New York in November 2016 to assemble major components on these buses, bringing 30 new jobs to New York.


For Immediate Release: 3/8/2016
State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


Registering to vote is made easy with New York State's online registration service

Over 256,000 New Yorkers have used service since its launch in 2012

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today reminded New Yorkers that they must register to vote by March 25 in order to cast ballots in the upcoming presidential primaries on April 19. New Yorkers looking to register to vote, or to change their enrollment information, can do so easily by using the state's online voter registration service on the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles' website. Since Governor Cuomo launched the system in 2012, more than 256,600 New Yorkers – 80,500 of which were registering for the first time – have registered to vote using the automated online system, MyDMV.

"Thanks to New York State's online portal, it has never been easier for residents to register to vote and participate in the democratic process," Governor Cuomo said. "The ability to vote and choose our representation is one of the most important rights that we are afforded as Americans and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers make sure they are registered ahead of April's presidential primaries."

By following a few simple steps, New Yorkers can easily sign up for a secure MyDMV account and register to vote or access a variety of other services like updating party enrollment or a home address. To create an account, individuals must use their New York State driver license, permit or non-driver ID, last four digits of their Social Security Number, and the ZIP code currently listed on their driver license, permit or non-driver ID record. Upon completion, DMV sends the voter registration applications to the County Board of Elections for action. New Yorkers can use the New York State Board of Elections' website to check their voter registration status.

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "New Yorkers can quickly and easily log onto our website from a computer, tablet, or even a smartphone to register to vote in just minutes. It’s that easy. DMV is proud to offer up an online voter registration process in the state. I encourage those eligible to take a few moments to register, then vote in the primaries to exercise their rights this election season."

To register to vote, a New Yorker must:

· Be a United States citizen.
· Be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you submit the form (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary or other election in which you want to vote).
· Live at your present address at least 30 days before an election.
· Not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.
· Not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court.
· Not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

Click here to see a list of frequently asked questions about the voter registration application process. For more information about DMV, visit