Senator Catharine Young (R-Olean) has announced that a free shuttle service will be provided beginning at 5:30 p.m. to SUNY Fredonia's Williams Center and back so that local residents, especially senior citizens, will have transportation to and from the Public Service Commission hearing on Monday.
SUNY Fredonia also will have parking available for attendees who wish to drive their own vehicles.
The public hearing will feature presentations from NRG and National Grid about their competing proposals to the PSC, and give citizens a chance to speak and have their voices heard about the importance of repowering NRG. The PSC will heavily weigh the input received from those who live in the community when making their final determination.
"National Grid's proposal would close down the NRG plant. It would devastate Dunkirk and surrounding areas because it would mean enormous tax hikes, loss of jobs, and the decimation of the school and city services. Repowering NRG to a clean and efficient natural gas plant would stabilize the tax base, protect the school, maintain vital city services, keep jobs and grow jobs, clean up the environment, and help consumers. We are hoping for many citizens to show their support of repowering NRG to save our future," Young said.
"Recently I was speaking to senior citizens who wish to attend the hearing, and they pointed out that having a shuttle service available would allow more of them to attend. My hat is off to the Dunkirk teachers and County Executive Greg Edwards for setting up transportation so quickly," Young said.
At 5:30 p.m., a Chautauqua Area Rural Transit System (CARTS) shuttle bus will depart the Dunkirk High School's Pool Parking Lot on Marauder Drive, bringing residents directly to the SUNY Fredonia Williams Center where the hearing will be held. Additional runs will be made as necessary to ensure all residents are able to receive a ride.
Also at 5:30 p.m., a Dunkirk City School District bus will be available to pick up residents at the Dunkirk Senior Citizens Center located at 45 Cliffstar Court, also bringing people directly to the SUNY Fredonia Williams Center. The school bus will make any additional runs necessary for anyone wanting to attend the hearing who was not able to make it onto the first busload.
Shuttles will be available to transport people back to both pickup locations starting at 8 p.m. and running until 9 p.m.
For concerned citizens who will be driving to the hearing to have their voices heard, free parking will be available on campus, within walking distance of the Williams Center, at the Jewett Hall Lot and Dods Hall Lot. Additional overflow parking will be available at the Steele Hall Lot, where shuttle service will be available on an ongoing basis to bring people to the hearing entrance.
At each of these lots, posted permit parking restrictions are suspended and will not be enforced on hearing attendees.
Young said that it was a true team effort to set up transportation services.
"Senator Young contacted my office and we immediately agreed that we needed to do all we could to help residents get to and from this critical event," said Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards. "Department of Public Facilities Director George Spanos and the rest of our team at CARTS worked with us so a CARTS bus would be available to shuttle people from designated parking lots to the Williams Center and I encourage residents to utilize this shuttle system and look for the CARTS bus."
Young said, "We need a huge citizen turnout to show the PSC how crucial the repowering project is to our community. I urge everyone to attend the hearing and consider testifying or bringing a written letter in support of repowering to personally submit at the forum. The future of our community depends on it."