Broome County responds to concerns raised about proposed changes to BC Transit. County officials are reinstating the discounted and unlimited ride passes next year. Our Melissa Kakareka has more on the announcement.
BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Carmen Pacheco, 18, was worried when she found out that Broome County was planning to eliminate its unlimited and discounted bus passes in its 2013 budget.
"I was just worried about everything in general, financially and getting places. This is our only option when we don't have money," said Pacheco.
After public outcry from people like Pacheco, Broome County officials changed plans.
"It's a great opportunity for both the legislative branch and the administrative branch that we came together and did something for the people. We heard them loud and clear and we got something done for them," said Broome County Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich.
The amendment creates new one day and one week unlimited ride passes. It also reinstates the 31 day unlimited ride pass and discounted passes for students, the elderly and the disabled. Regular one day fare for seniors and the disabled is now one dollar all day long.
The cost of the passes will increase by 33 percent to pay for the costs of the transit system. Lawmakers also plan to install parking meters at the Greater Binghamton Transportation Center. And money from the general fund will also be used.
"This proposal is a step in the right direction that helps some of our more vulnerable citizens without overwhelming property tax payers with the cost," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
Democratic Candidate for the County Executive Office Tarik Abdelazim applauded the decision, but also pointed to its political undertones.
"This is clearly just a move before re-election, but I think this speaks to a larger trend here that voters are starting to realize that this administration is inconsistent and misrepresents the facts," said Abdelazim.
Preston says the decision was a response to the needs and concerns that were brought to her by the public.