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Schumer Says Infrastructure Bill Could Provide The Money Needed For BRT In Syracuse

Centro Bus
Can Pac Swire

Central New York’s public transit system stands to receive $74 million over five years in the bipartisan infrastructure framework that passed the senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stopped at CENTRO Wednesday to announce the funding, which amounts to a 34% increase over the previous five years. It's also the most money the system has ever received from the federal government. He says the funding could boost efforts to bring Bus Rapid Transit to Syracuse.

“Local elected officials and transportation leaders have put together a good plan to bring BRT routes to Syracuse that could bring over 9,000 people to work every day. So they’ve had plans. They haven’t had the money to put those plans into effect. But the bipartisan infrastructure bill has that money to do just that,” said Schumer.

CENTRO would be able to apply for a capital investment grant from a pot of $8 billion to a build BRT system, and Schumer says he’d use his clout to make sure Centro is at the top of the list.

A study by Syracuse Metropolitan Transit Council estimates that a BRT routes could be up to 30% faster than similar, traditional CENTRO routes. Experts believe a BRT system would also increase access to jobs. It's estimated 1 in 4 Syracuse residents do not have access to a car.

Schumer says a strong transportation system can also attract businesses and boost the economy.

"When companies are looking at this area, they ask how good is the transportation so people can get to work, especially the larger employers who need a large workforce. Secondly, they ask for water, and there's a lot of money for new water projects here [infrastructure bill] as well."

The infrastructure bill is awaiting a vote in the House.

schumer centro edit.jpg
Scott Willis
Sen. Schumer greets CENTRO board members upon his arrival at the bus garage in Syracuse.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at