Modified: July 26, 2020 3:05pm
Erie County, NY- Erie County Legislator and Chair of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee, Howard J. Johnson Jr. sponsored a resolution requesting the reintroduction of public transit services to Alden. Bus route 27 that provided regular transportation with a stop near the Alden facility was cut by the Niagara Frontier Transport Authority (NFTA) in 2014.
Johnson introduced the resolution after the Erie County Sheriff’s Office proposed closing or down-sizing the Erie County Holding Center as part of a cost-saving plan to remedy the $138 million County budget deficit. The Erie County Sheriff’s office sent a formal letter to the NFTA in June requesting the resumption of bus services to ensure “members of the public have sufficient access to their loved ones while incarcerated.” This request was subsequently denied in a response letter from the NFTA.
Legislator Howard Johnson said, “While we are still considering the Sheriff’s plan, I think expanded bus service would be a benefit to the incarcerated population currently held in Alden. For those originally from the City of Buffalo, access to family support and contact with close friends leads to lower recidivism and better overall mental health. Without public transportation from the metro area to Alden, we are leaving many in our community without a way to visit their incarcerated loved ones.”
The resolution passed unanimously in the Public Safety Committee and was approved by the full Legislature on July 23rd. It will be forwarded to the NFTA Board of Commissioners and Executive Director along with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.