Time is running out to sign the Ithaca Carshare Bill
ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- On Sunday, August 6th, Senator Lea Webb, 52nd District New York, and Assemblymember Anna Kelles, district 125 New York, called on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the "Ithaca Carshare Bill." The program has served the Southern Tier for 15 years.
"This program addresses many issues," introduced Sen.Lea Webb, New York. "One, it gives people options for transportation, which is definitely needed here in, not only in Ithaca but across the state. Also, it helps with addressing our environmental issues that we are grappling with the ever-growing challenges around climate change."
Ithaca Carshare paused its services on May 19th, 2023, and remains closed on August 7th, 2023. In June, the NYS Bill A.5718b/S.5959b unanimously passed through New York State Legislature. Governor Hochul has not signed the Carshare bill, meaning 1500 residents of Ithaca still don't have access to the service.
"I'd never owned a car in my life and never wanted to, and I was concerned about moving to Ithaca that I'd have to buy a car," explained Rideshare customer and Ithaca Resident Megan Greischar. She continued, "I was very pleased that the car share existed. I chose my apartment so that it would be close to multiple car-share spots, and I used it extensively until it shut down in mid-May. "
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has invested 3 million dollars in New York Car-Sharing. NYSERDA plans to invest millions more in the coming years.
"We are losing money every day. People are without jobs," shared Jennifer Dotson, Executive Director Center of Community Transportation. "We are at the point now. Two months. After this has been passed unanimously by the legislature, we are waiting for the governor. We do not know why exactly the governor has not signed it."
Rideshare Customers chanted Sunday for Gov.Hochul to sign the bill on August 6th, even August 7th at the latest. If Hochul signs the the Ithaca Car Share Bill, it will still take several months for it to be implemented.
"The way the legislation was written is that it is going to take six months for the DMV to set up the infrastructure in order to implement the legislation," noted Assemblymember Anna Kelles. "There was a press release just this week from Ithaca Car Share saying if this is not passed imminently, that they are at risk of closing permanent."
Ithaca Car Share does not rely on public funds to operate, but Hochul's signature is needed for insurance. At the rally in the Ithaca Commons, Webb and her constituents are asking everyone to contact Governor Hochul's office to encourage her to sign the bill.