The Putnam County Transportation Task Force recently released its findings which, if adopted, promise to help improve our county’s mobility index and get more people on mass transit, thus connecting all of our towns via a more durable thread. Plans call for the modification of various bus and trolley lines, adopting competitive fares, adding services to connect to Metro-North, adding services specific to seniors, veterans, students, commuters and tourists alike. A County agency would regulate the operations of taxis, limousines, shuttles and bus services to protect the consumer from improperly licensed operators, and an advertising agency would be retained to promote the new operation. It’s an ambitious plan, but one rooted in economic reality – the only demographic currently growing in Putnam County is its senior citizen population. We love our seniors, but in order to have balanced economic vitality we also need to attract young people to our county as well as the existing population to stick around after college and build their careers here, and tourists to stop and visit as they explore our wonderful state. The wonderful work being done by Meghan Taylor of Putnam’s Economic Development Corporation and by Libby Pataki over at the Visitors’ Bureau deserves all the assistance possible to succeed, and bolstering our transportation system will provide a huge benefit.
It will take some time to implement the new arrangements and to get people to travel on them, so the Task Force also recommended operating closely with the local business community including the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce. By incentivizing employers and employees alike to use the new system, riders will take advantage of clean, affordable and user-friendly transportation, and higher real estate values, better business development and increased job opportunities should follow. Today’s ever-changing world requires adaptability on the part of our business community, residents and the public sector. This new transportation initiative could well be the ticket to Putnam’s future prosperity.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce