From the Morning Memo:

A coalition is being launched today to advocate for public transportation systems in New York statewide ahead of the upcoming legislative session in Albany.

The group, to be known as New Yorkers For Better Public Transit, is being formed in part by the New York Public Transit Association, bringing together transit systems that provide service in cities like Rochester and Syracuse, as well as in the Tri-State area and on Long Island.

The coalition also includes General Contractors Association of New York, Reinvent Albany, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, Vision Long Island, the Riders Alliance and the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA

“Whether they live in city centers or rural towns, millions of New Yorkers rely on the services transit operators across New York provide on a daily basis,” said Bill Carpenter, the president of the New York Public Transit Association and chief executive officer of Regional Transit Service in Rochester.

“Our partners in the transit community and in other industries recognize transit’s role in regional growth and development. We are excited to partner with them to push for state funding in 2019 that complements the investments the state is making in our communities and cements transit as a key contributor in improving the lives of all New Yorkers.”

The coalition has launched a petition drive meant to call attention to a variety of transit concerns, including an increase in funding, as well as a website that highlights the role public transit plays in the state’s economy.

The coalition also comes as the 2019 legislative session is expected to focus heavily on transit issues specifically in New York City when it comes to MTA service needs.

“Increasing public funding for transit is one of the best investments New York State government can make to grow the economy, improve quality of life, protect the environment and increase social justice,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany. “We are proud to be part of this coalition working to make New York better for everyone.”