Sunday, December 16, 2007

Transportation Collaboration in New Hartford

The New Hartford School District has come up with an idea that merits a close look: a shared transportation facility. Per the O-D,

The school district, town, village and local BOCES unit may collaborate to build a shared transportation facility.

The effort reflects an opportunity to consolidate services and facilities, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Gilligan said Monday.

“Rather than everyone building their own, we should share one,” Gilligan said as the Board of Education passed a resolution that could help further the project.

Other potential partners: Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and the town and village of New Hartford.
But this idea really needs to be taken further because there is a customer already looking for a transportation facility: CENTRO.

CENTRO wants to consolidate its bus maintenance facility for both its Utica and Rome-based fleets. The City of Utica has voiced some reluctance to having it in downtown Utica -- not thinking that it would fit with the City's plans for downtown. The Mayor proposed that it be located between Utica and Rome. That seems to make sense. . . and that seems to make New Hartford's proposal for a facility on Middle Settlement Road a perfect fit for CENTRO as well.

Location aside, there are other obvious benefits:

(1) CENTRO'S expertise. The local bus system seems to have gotten a boost by the boys (and girls) from Syracuse. Something sorely lacking in almost all school districts, no matter how handsomely compensated the superintendent, is a business sense for running operations. Although CENTRO is subsidized, it competes for passengers against taxis and private automobiles. It has to make those fares it collects go as far as possible to survive. Integrating school transportation with a professionally run public transit system would seem to lead to both cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.

(2) Educational Opportunity. A facility co-located with BOCES would seem to tailor-make an opportunity for training mechanics much like MVCC's aircraft maintenance training facility already does at Griffiss. Students would not only learn about nuts and bolts, but they would have a chance to learn about the transportation business as well.

Location, Expertise, and Education . . . Adding CENTRO to the mix would seem a natural fit.


Anonymous said...

GREAT Idea, especially, about using CENTRO buses as sources of repairs to students who wish to pursue mechanics studies.

Now, let us see if the "powers" that be will buy into this great Educational opportunity.

Just think of the monies the taxpayers will save because of this.

Anonymous said...

Strikeslip, I don't get it, you seem to be for consolidating services except when it comes to the Water Authority?

Anonymous said...

Consolidation is a wonderful concept when all parties realize the “win/win” business model. The New Hartford School District Superintendent Daniel Gilligan and the New Hartford School Board should be applauded for their decision to have BOCES Superintendent Howard Mettelman submit a Shared Municipal Services Incentive Grant Program application on their behalf. This definitely illustrates the New Hartford School District’s leadership is willing and able to think out of the box in terms of having this model of consolidation benefit school, village, and town taxpayers.

And kudos to Strikeslip for her/his conception of incorporating Centro’s newly proposed Rome and Utica bus maintenance facility in this endeavor. Once this bus, truck and heavy equipment maintenance facility gets its feet off of the ground, the benefits to the students as apprentices to professional bus, truck and heavy equipment technicians as mentors can be priceless. Now, add the benefit of having students learn the transportation business from the professionals at Centro, and you have the ingredients of unparalleled success and professionalism.

Now add the “location, location, location” factor, in terms of the central location of the Middle Settlement Road BOCES and State Route 840 corridor and you have an economic “no brainer.”

With all private business ventures the cost/benefit profit ratio is the main determining when any new business venture’s success. But when dealing with governmental project viability, the main determining factor is the pro and cons in terms of obtaining optimal public benefit to the citizenry. So let us take a look at the PROS and CONS of this proposal:

• Students.
o BOCES students will be able to gain “on the job” apprentice training with some of the finest and most experienced bus technicians.
o Transportation business experience from Centro and the New Hartford School District professionals.
• Consolidation of services.
o State, County, and School District taxpayers.
o Centralization and consolidation of plant utilities maintenance costs.
o Consolidated procurement of goods, support services, and utilities.
• Private Industry.
o Bernie Bus Services of Rome, Centro of Rome/Utica/Syracuse, and Daimler Chrysler/Orion Bus Industries of Whitestown.


I sincerely hope that this proposal can get off the ground soon. Thanks to New Hartford for having your act together. You deserve a standing ovation for this venture. Now let’s see how many other municipalities and school districts can join in and prove that they too, with New Hartford’s innovative lead, have the guts to join in and “think out of the box.”

Strikeslip said...

To Anonymous above - Actually I AM for consolidating services when it comes to the Water Authority -- but not the way they want it: The Water Authority should be consolidated with the Part County Sewer District... Then, these entities should be consolidated with Utica and all its surrounding towns to create the Municipality of Greater Utica. The City government and all the Town and village governments would disappear and be replaced with a new municipal government.

If you are referring to the Verona expansion, that is not a consolidation issue - - now you are talking about resource allocation. There are water resources closer and more efficiently available to serve that part of the region than the MVWA. Why build a 16 mile pipeline to MVWA when 1/4 mile to Rome will do?

Anonymous said...

I was refering to the consolidation of the Water Authority, not the second item.

I agree with your consolidation plan. Consolidation of services would benefit this area tremendously.

Anonymous said...

The next big question, "who has control?" Hopefully, we will allow CENTRO to operate this program; free from the politics that have negatively impacted this area.

Incidentally, did anyone forget to add Orion Bus industries plus SUNY Marcy who could develop a program for our youth.

Let us now blow a concept that has many wonderful paths.