An Investment in Downtown Rochester
Federal, State, and local legislators and community leaders gathered Tuesday, Nov. 20, for the groundbreaking celebration at the RTS Transit Center site, 60 St. Paul St.
"The Transit Center is a vital component of our vision for Downtown’s revitalization; moving the transfer of buses off Main Street, making the area more pedestrian friendly, and allowing for on street parking," said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. "Improving our city’s public transportation infrastructure will strengthen the investments being made at the Midtown site and in historic buildings as they are transformed into housing and office space. It will be an asset to the community, adding to the appeal of our Center City."
Construction began in October with excavation and site work, and will be complete in mid-2015. The enclosed, one-story facility, which will span an entire City block between St. Paul Street and North Clinton Avenue, will serve as the community hub for RTS customers who ride the bus to and from downtown Rochester. RTS currently averages nearly 55,000 daily boardings, many of which transfer downtown.
RGRTA CEO Bill Carpenter noted that construction of the Transit Center warranted a community-wide celebration because it will transform the way in which people use public transportation and experience Rochester.
"Our long-term vision is to be the community’s preferred transportation choice," Carpenter said. "he Transit Center is evidence of our commitment to make it easier and more convenient for our existing customers and the next generations of transit users to access jobs, education, health care, and shopping, as well as the cultural and lifestyle amenities our community offers."
Unnited States Senator Charles E. Schumer, who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the $50 million project [through FTA funds], participated in the event.
"At long last, Rochester’s new downtown Transit Center has arrived at its destination and will provide commuters with the state-of-art station they deserve. The Transit Center will further ignite the region’s economic engine and energize downtown’s revitalization by opening the door to everything from new street parking to restoring two-way traffic,” said Senator Schumer. "I worked hard to secure over $10 million in federal funding for this project because I knew it would perfectly complement the growing businesses, housing, restaurants, and retail coming back to downtown. This federal investment puts 400 Rochester construction workers on the job, and creates 50 new permanent positions, which is why I will continue to support future investments that position Rochester for growth and job creation."
Tom Judson, Chairman and CEO of The Pike Company, construction partner for the Project, joined with Senator Schumer and RGRTA CEO Bill Carpenter in presenting a check for $25,000 to Rochester Careers in Construction, Inc. (RCCI) to aid efforts in recruiting and training local minorities and females to work in the construction trades. The organization is a non-profit arm of UNICON Unions and Businesses United in Construction, and works in partnership with the Rochester City School District to promote careers in the construction trades industry through the Get Ready for Life Program. Funds will support the training and employment of workers specifically for the RTS Transit Center project and other local projects.
"The recognition of persons like Senator Schumer, Bill Carpenter of RGRTA, and Tom Judson of The Pike Company for the need to guarantee jobs and diversity for the residents of our district is emblematic of the fine community in which we live,” said Ken Warner, Executive Director of UNICON & RCCI.
"I congratulate and thank the RGRTA, led by CEO Bill Carpenter, and the RGRTA Board of Commissioners, chaired by Jim Redmond, for their strong and unwavering commitment to this project," said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. "I am incredibly pleased that ground has now been broken on the new Transit Center, which will improve both transportation excellence and quality of life in the Downtown corridor. I wish RGRTA the best of luck during construction and I look forward to seeing the finished project come to fruition in days to come."
"RTS is one of the best run transit systems in the country," noted RGRTA Board Chairman Jim Redmond. "The Transit Center will guarantee an even better experience for our customers – with safety, comfort, convenience, and accessibility."
The community can find Transit Center details and ongoing updates at www.rgrta.com/transitcenter.