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Henry Smith will end tenure as county’s representative on Transportation Authority

Photo by Tom Rivers: Henry Smith, center, speaks during a ground-breaking ceremony on June 28, 2017 for a new transportation facility for the Regional Transit Service in Orleans. The new $4 million facility is nearly done on West Academy Street in Albion. Smith is joined at the ground-breaking by from left: David Callard, former Orleans County Legislature chairman; and Bill Carpenter, CEO of Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, parent organization of RTS Orleans.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 August 2018 at 8:22 am

Former county legislator pleased with new transportation facility in Albion

ALBION – Henry Smith, a former Orleans County legislator, will be stepping down on Dec. 31 as the county’s representative on the board of directors for the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority.

Smith said the RGRTA has shown its commitment to Orleans County, purchasing new buses, modifying services and building a new $4 million transportation facility on West Academy Street in Albion, next to the Orleans County Highway Department.

The new building could be ready later this month or in September, Smith said.

“I’m very, very proud and excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years,” he said.

He has served in the unpaid position for  decade. He went to the RGRTA offices before the county had the public bus service and pushed the agency to come to Orleans. It started operations in the county in 2003.

It was originally called Orleans Transit Service or OTS. Now it’s RTS Orleans and serves about 40,000 riders a year.

“I went to RGRTA and told them we needed a bus system,” Smith recalled. “I felt it was important because not everyone has an automobile and they still need a vehicle to get to appointments and to jobs.”

With the new 13,000-square-foot transportation facility nearly done for RTS Orleans, Smith said he has accomplished his main goals for the agency. The new $4 million facility puts RTS in a better position to grow the service in the county.

The facility will include eight indoor bus bays, three bus maintenance bays, a vehicle wash bay, storage for parts and materials, administrative office space, a break room with kitchenette, and designated parking.

Federal aid funneled to the state will pay 80 percent or about $3.2 million of the cost, while the state pays 10 percent and RTS pays the other 10 percent.

“I’ve been there long enough and feel I’ve accomplish enough especially with new facility going in,” Smith said. “I wanted to see that brought to fruition.”

The County Legislature has recommended two people – either former State Assemblyman Charlie Nesbitt or current Orleans County Planning and Development Director James Bensley – to be considered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to represent the county on the RGRTA board.

Smith said he enjoyed advocating for the county in the role.

“I worked hard and tried to represent Orleans County to the best of my ability,” he said.

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