October 13, 2011

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $4.7 Million in Department of Transportation Funding for Western New York

Over $3.5 Million to Revamp Niagara’s Frontier Transportation Services With New Transit Center, Hybrid Buses and Bicycle Parking

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) is set to receive more than $4.7 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the Niagara Street Corridor Project and for an Amherst-Buffalo Corridor Alternatives Analysis. Gillibrand and Schumer commend DOT for their work to improve transit facilities across the state. 

Earlier this year, Senator Schumer wrote a letter of support for this project to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Schumer also called Administrator Rogoff urging him to consider the NFTA’s request. Senator Gillibrand wrote to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood in August urging his support for an alternatives analysis study for the Amherst-Buffalo Corridor to ensure it is equipped to meet the demands of a growing economy.

“Transportation infrastructure and helping commuters get to and from work, shopping and visiting loved ones is a pivotal part of our economy in Western New York,” said Schumer. “I fought hard for this investment because it will pave the way for significant upgrades to our public transit system, making commutes easier and more efficient. I’m will keep pushing until we put this project across the finish line.”

“This is an important investment for Western New York’s public transit,” Senator Gillibrand said. “These federal funds will help upgrade the conditions for bus, bicycle and pedestrian travel in Buffalo, and provide better service for commuters and local residents. I will keep fighting to secure the resources for New York’s transit services.”

NFTA is receiving $3,577,600 to support the Niagara Street Corridor project with traffic signal prioritization, design and construction of a neighborhood transit center, a 25-space park-and-ride lot, a public transportation bus loop, bicycle parking, and a pedestrian pathway to the existing Seaway Trail System. Funds will also be used to purchase five hybrid buses equipped with traffic signal technology, construction of four new solar-powered bus shelters and next bus notification technology for installation in existing bus shelters. 

NFTA is also receiving $1.2 million to fund an alternatives study for the Amherst-Buffalo Corridor, which includes NFTA Metro’s highest ridership levels, to ensure recent economic development in the region has adequate infrastructure to address increased transportation needs. NFTA submitted this application for funding in collaboration with the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC).   With this funding, NFTA plans to conduct an analysis of the Amherst-Buffalo Corridor.  The Amherst-Buffalo Corridor would connect the current NFTA Light Rail System in Buffalo to the State University of New York at Buffalo’s (UB) 1,100 acre North Campus in Amherst. UB has an economic impact of 1.7 billion annually, and recent passage of state legislation will allow the University to construct its School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and other facilities, in downtown Buffalo.  This analysis is viewed as the first step for NFTA to make informed decisions about providing transit options for a growing ridership and could lead to a project to spur economic and transit oriented development.   

Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer’s letters to Secretary LaHood are attached.