The two ‘no’ votes will keep the buses idle for now
POUGHKEEPSIE – Despite a strong warning from the Federal Transit Administration that the city must transfer its buses to the Dutchess County or risk significant financial repercussions, the Poughkeepsie Common Council fell one vote short of doing so.
The ‘no’ votes Monday night came from Ann Perry and Randall Johnson. With two council members, Christopher Petsas, a staunch opponent of transfer and Lorraine Johnson absent, the vote was 4 to 2. Five votes were needed.
Despite most of the recent public comment at council meetings arguing for transfer, to get the buses back on the road, Democrat Perry said she is listening to people on the street.
“They still call me, I still meet them in the street and they tell me that the buses are not suiting their needs the way they are set up right now and that is what I am defending; those people,” Perry said.
Other council members, including Chairwoman Natasha Cherry, were equally adamant on the imperative to move forward with the transfer, contending without it, the buses will continue to sit idle.
“Now by moving on doesn’t mean we forget about all those bus riders,” Cherry said. “Moving on meant picking my battles and now my battle is working with the county to expand service in the areas that need it.”
That won’t happen because of Monday night’s action. The buses will remain parked.
The FTA set a 30-day deadline for the city to make the transfer. The next council meeting, in two weeks, will be within that timeframe. However, the only way Monday night’s resolution can be brought back would be by either of the two who voted against it – Perry or Johnson.