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$510 Million No One Seems To Care About

March 14th, 2010

This is the Mortimer St. design for a transit center that was part of the Renaissance Square project. RGRTA still wants to build this portion of the project on Mortimer St.
Last Tuesday I attended a public presentation by the Genesee Transportation Council (GTC) to review their Draft 2011-2014 Transportation Improvement Program Project List external link. It contains over $500 million in new transportation spending for our region over the next few years. And I don’t mind pointing out that I was the only one in attendance. I don’t mean the only one from RochesterSubway.com… or the only one from my neighborhood… I mean THE ONLY PERSON in the entire city of Rochester and 7 county region in attendance. No one from the community, no one from the press, no raging activists… no one. It was literally me and about 5 or 6 representatives from GTC.

I’m more than a little perplexed by the lack of interest. Especially given the amount of money on the table and the shear number of proposed projects and purchases. For example, $6 million for work on the Aqueduct/Broad Street Bridge and subway tunnel, nearly $50 million for new transit buses, and over $45 million for a new RTS Transit Center. These are not small potatoes—there are over 200 other projects and purchases in this draft proposal—and if you wanted to speak your mind about any of it you may have just missed the boat. Don’t blame me, I posted the meeting on the RochesterSubway.com Facebook page external link and pleaded with our 460+ fans to come out. You can’t even blame GTC—the meetings are posted on their site and the Democrat & Chronicle announced them last Sunday.

A Second Chance To Give A Damn…

I can hear reading this and saying to yourself, $510 million is a lot of money and you’d like to bitch and complain about how MY MONEY is being spent! Okay, you know what? This is your lucky week. GTC is holding 2 more public meetings this Wednesday (3/17) in Henrietta and Ogden. See the times and locations here external link. And if you really really REALLY can’t make be bothered to show up in person, you can write, fax, or email your comments and concerns to GTC until March 26.

RGRTA is on target to build their bus terminal on this  Mortimer St. parking lot.I don’t have nearly enough time to get into all the projects that are on this list so you’ll have to download the PDF external link and thumb thru it on your own. But I will touch on the one that you may have heard of before. Item #144 on the list is $45.7 million in federal, state, and local funding for a Downtown Transit Center—formerly Renaissance Square. Looks like we can forget any dreams of a real intermodal transit station. RGRTA is moving ahead with it’s plan to build a slightly scaled down version of it’s bus terminal on Mortimer St. and Clinton Ave.

RGRTA is on target to build their bus terminal on this  Mortimer St. parking lot.RGRTA CEO Mark Aesch says, “We picked this site and worked on it for 10 years for a reason. Mortimer Street is the right location to build a transit center. It’s environmentally approved. We’ve spent millions of dollars getting the design to where it is today. That’s the right place to build this project. We’re hopeful that’s where it’s going to be.”

According to Aesch the terminal will cost in the mid to high $40 million range. If the GTC’s Draft Project List becomes reality, and I’d judge by the lack of public interest that it will, Aesch will have his $45.7 million and we’ll have a bus garage downtown very soon. Goodie.

Item #69 on GTC's list of transportation projects has $6 million marked for the east end of the Broad Street Tunnel and Aqueduct. More on this later...I’ll save my comments on line #69, Broad St. Tunnel & Aqueduct, for a future post. I’m awaiting comments from the City on this one. Though I’d say it reeks pretty heavily of the canal re-watering plan external link. Stay tuned.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 14th, 2010 at 10:42 am and is filed under Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “$510 Million No One Seems To Care About”

  1. Adam says:

    The only one who went???!!! Did they keep this meeting a secret? There are certainly people in Rochester who care about this topic who would come out to hear about this. But they need to know about it to go to it…. Man – I keep missing these things.

  2. chase tyler says:

    Looks like people still don’t care… only a few comments. Tsk, tsk.

  3. Ha. You’re right @Chase. But now, almost 3 years later, I’m thinking that the public notification system may be what’s missing here. As Adam pointed out. So many different groups and agencies in Rochester. So many different meetings. How do we sync them all up on one highly visible calendar?


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