Tuesday
December 5, 2017


 

 

 

Poughkeepsie’s long bus nightmare is finally over, maybe

Poughkeepsie's buses could soon be back on the road, somewhere

POUGHKEEPSIE – Poughkeepsie’s bus fleet, idle since June 30, may be back on the road in the not too distant future. 

After months of contentious debate, the common council adopted a compromise resolution offered by Democrat Ann Perry on Monday night.  Her solution – a low-cost lease of the buses to Dutchess County. 

“I expect Dutchess County, in good faith, and the City of Poughkeepsie, in good faith, to keep their word to our citizens,” Perry said.  “And if the county is going to take over the running of a bus service, I expect them to run a service that benefits the entire City of Poughkeepsie.”

Perry, who lost her re-election bid last month, said she has “no further fight” in her quest to keep the buses in city hands and that this is the best option under the circumstances keep the buses on Dutchess County roads. 

Fellow Democrat Matthew McNamara called it a “fair compromise.”

Republican Lee Klein said it is the “best resolution available.”

Remaining adamant in his opposition to giving up the buses was Democrat Christopher Petsas.

“I cannot support a lease where there are no guarantees in place that indeed the county is going to restore the routes that were lost under the takeover, that there is no seat at the table for us as a city,” Petsas complained.  “There is no guarantee that these buses will actually be used on our city streets.  There’s nothing in that lease agreement that those leased buses will be used on our city streets.  They can be taken to Beacon.  They can be taken to Dover.”

Petsas, Lorraine Johnson and Randall Johnson were the three “no” votes. 

City Administrator Marc Nelson reiterated that the city is still under mandate from the Federal Transit Administration to transfer the buses or face severe financial repercussions. 

Not heard from Monday night was councilwoman-at-large-elect Ann Finney, who two weeks ago, authored a letter to the FTA asking for an extension on the deadline to transfer the buses.  She said she had a plan for the city to restore its own bus service.

Council Chairwoman Natasha Cherry had requested Finney to attend last night’s meeting, but announced that Finney told her, after learning of the pending vote, a late entry to the agenda, that she decided not to attend. 

 


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