The New York State 2018 Budget reaffirms its commitment to improving tourism in state through funding and promotional initiatives.
Uber and Lyft Operate Upstate
A significant move was to enable ride share companies to operate throughout the state. While such companies, like Uber and Lyft operated in New York City, they are now operational upstate as well.
The FY 2018 Budget authorizes Transportation Network Companies (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft, to operate across New York and creates uniform licensing standards. The Department of Motor Vehicles will have broad oversight of rideshare companies and will ensure compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations required as part of a TNC’s operational license.
According to the state’s website, TNC companies will be required to maintain minimum insurance coverage levels of $1.25 million while a TNC driver is traveling to pick up a passenger and until the drop-off is completed. The state will also establish minimum standards to ensure passenger safety, including mandatory background checks, ongoing monitoring for traffic safety, anti-discrimination protections, and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies.
The Budget also establishes a statewide task force to study and deliver recommendations on accessibility needs to protect and provide transportation to vulnerable populations. Necessary workers’ compensation coverage will be provided to rideshare drivers through enhancements to the Black Car Fund. (The New York Black Car Fund is a Operators injury compensation fund. Providing Workers’ Compensation insurance to Black Car operators in the state of New York. http://www.nybcf.org/.) A statewide board will be established to review the impact of this newly authorized industry across the state.
The Empire State Trail
The New York State 2018 Budget has committed $200 million to complete the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails and creates the Empire State Trail, the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. The 750-mile trail will provide new opportunities for hiking and biking along scenic vistas and through charming, historic communities, driving tourism and economic activity across New York. The Empire State Trail will span the state, from the New York Harbor up through the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian border – and from the shores of Lake Erie along the historic Erie Canal to the heart of the Capital Region.
In another move – not directly related to tourism but of consequence nonetheless – is the move in the New York State 2018 Budget to protect drinking water under the Clean Water Infrastructure Act.
To ensure that New Yorkers have access to clean water, the Budget initiates the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act. This investment will protect public health, safeguard the environment, and preserve the state’s water resources. These funds will help local governments address water emergencies, pay for local infrastructure construction projects, underwrite land acquisition for source water protection, and investigate and mitigate emerging contaminants in drinking water. These projects will improve the quality and safety of municipal drinking water distribution, filtration systems, and wastewater treatment infrastructure.
Initiatives such as the Clean Water Infrastructure Act will go a long way to promote tourism especially to attract younger and environmentally savvy millennials and eco-aware travelers.
Check out the New York State Tourism Directory