June 28, 2022

After Her Push, Gillibrand Announces $650,000 in Federal Funding for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

Following her advocacy on behalf of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that NFTA has received $650,000 in federal funding to advance a Bus Rapid Transit project along Bailey Avenue in the City of Buffalo. The funding was allocated through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Areas of Persistent Poverty Program and will be used for planning activities to reduce travel times, increase bus frequency, and enhance transit amenities on the Bailey Avenue Bus Rapid Transit battery-electric bus system. The project would continue the development of East Buffalo and address environmental justice and community health by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is a critical public service agency that helps connect thousands of residents of Erie and Niagara Counties,” said Senator Gillibrand“I’m proud to have secured this funding that will help expand transit options for the historically underserved East Buffalo and I will keep fighting to bring federal dollars to the region.” 

“This much needed and appreciated funding will help us bring the Bailey Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Battery Electric Bus to life,” said Kimberly Minkel, Executive Director of the NFTA. “Thanks to the continued commitment of Senator Gillibrand we will have the opportunity to continue to invest in electric buses, and provide improved service for our riders.”  

Last year, Senator Gillibrand wrote a letter to the U.S. Federal Transit Administration in support of NFTA’s application for federal funding. 

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to the FTA is available here or below: 

Dear Administrator Fernandez,

I write in support of the application submitted by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) for funding from the Fiscal Year 2021 Areas of Persistent Poverty Program through the U.S. Federal Transit Administration. This funding will allow the NFTA to support equitable planning, engineering, technical, and financial analysis to advance a Bus Rapid Transit project along Bailey Avenue in the City of Buffalo. 

Located in Western New York, the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority is the public transit provider for Erie and Niagara Counties. The NFTA provides and administers myriad transportation services across these counties, including the Metro Bus system, the Buffalo Metro Rail system, and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. In FYE 2020, the NFTA had a total system ridership count of 24 million riders, with bus ridership accounting for 19 million. 

Funding from the Federal Transit Administration would allow the NFTA to study the effects of implementing a Bus Rapid Transit project along Bailey Avenue. A potential Bailey Avenue Corridor would continue the development of Buffalo's East Side, an underserved community within the city. This project requires equitable planning, engineering, technical, and financial analysis to examine the benefits and understand the broader economic and social effects of implementing a Bus Rapid Transit system through the corridor. Through this analysis, the NFTA can move this project into and eventually through the Project Development phase of the Small Starts Process for the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grant Program to fund this important transit project. 

I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff.