I’m also grateful to continue to serve as one of 10 state legislators on the joint, bipartisan Legislative Commission on the Development of Rural Resources, commonly known as the Rural Resources Commission.
I was first appointed to the group in 2011. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton of Ithaca and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano of Corning also serve on the commission, which is currently chaired by New York Senator Patty Ritchie.
The Rural Resources Commission was established more than three decades ago, in 1982, to examine the impact of rural communities and industries on the state economy. Since then it’s done important, often landmark work on a range of rural challenges including agriculture, economic development, universal broadband, education, land use, transportation, local government structure and functions, volunteer recruitment and retention, and health care.
Approximately 44 of New York’s 62 counties are designated as rural, including all of the counties I represent.
At a forum in Cooperstown, Senator O’Mara joined his colleague, Senator Jim Seward, to hear from local transportation leaders from throughout the state on the state-imposed threats facing the future of rural, Upstate public transportation.
For several years, I’ve been focused and working with local transportation leaders from throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide, to keep attention focused on a critical crisis for Rural New York: the future of rural public transportation. We’ve taken important action this year with the Legislature’s recent approval of legislation creating an “Upstate Transit Funding Board.” It must be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.