City making progress on CDTA service for Amsterdam residents, school students

officials ride a city bus together
GASD Superintendent of Schools Richard Ruberti (rear of the right line of people) tests out one of the new electric-power buses earmarked for Amsterdam with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and others.

Substantial progress is being made on one of the Greater Amsterdam School District and City of Amsterdam’s top priorities to bring CDTA transportation services to the city and Montgomery County.

In doing so, GASD hopes to expand school transportation alternatives for Amsterdam High School students and families in the future and improve its school transportation system as a whole.

“As a school district we are  always looking to improve the services we offer and we feel this could have a really positive affect on transportation for the community and our students,” said GASD Superintendent Richard Ruberti. “With recent developments at the federal and state level we are excited about what the future holds.”

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, an Amsterdam High School graduate and member of the AHS Hall of Fame, has successfully inserted funding into recent federal transportation legislation to purchase eight new electric powered buses for CDTA-run Amsterdam service. Congressman Tonko, who was in Amsterdam this week, expects the legislation for the buses and a new pedestrian connector for the city to be voted on by the U.S. Senate in the very near future.

The city and GASD have been told the money needed to subsidize this expansion is available and CDTA management says it already has a plan in place to start the service in our area. Tonko joined Superintendent Ruberti, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, city officials and executives of the Capital District Transportation Authority on Wednesday, July 7, for a ride on one of the electric powered CDTA bus along a city route.

GASD is considerng a commitment of more than a million dollars of its federal transportation aid to CDTA to transport students who live in Amsterdam to Amsterdam High School and other locations.

Montgomery County lawmakers are also being asked to approve a resolution to apportion half of a percent of the County’s Mortgage tax proceeds toward the cost of the service. County Executive Matt Ossenfort said that the resolution to do so will be on the next agenda of the County Legislature.

At the state level, Assemblyman Santabarbara has pledged to work with State Senator Michelle Hinchey to try and secure annual funding from the NYS Office of the Budget to subsidize the CDTA expansion of their services westward.

Finally, the city is doing its part by contacting every major employer and social service organization in the greater Amsterdam area asking them to document the reasons why CDTA services would be beneficial to their organization and the populations they serve.