Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that the City of Buffalo will receive $15 million in Department of Transportation (DOT) grants from the National Infrastructure Investments or TIGER III Discretionary Grants program, funds that would allow the city to upgrade transit and pedestrian amenities by returning automobile access to Main Street and restore aging Metro Rail facilities in downtown Buffalo.
Senator Gillibrand wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in October to advocate for the project that has strong potential to help grow the local economy, attract new businesses and bring new jobs to Buffalo.
“This is an incredibly smart investment for Buffalo,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we invest in our Main Street, we’ll set the foundation for economic growth – and attract new businesses and new jobs for middle class families right here where we need it most. I worked hard to make sure Secretary LaHood knew how much of an impact this will make for Buffalo businesses and families, and will always fight to secure the resources we need for a growing economy and a thriving middle class.”
“Buffalo receiving a $15 million Federal Grant for the city’s ‘Cars Sharing Main Street’ project is great news,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “My administration worked hard on this application, and to secure these critical funds. This grant will support the investment that has already taken place in the Seven Hundred Block of downtown Main Street, along with the money we already have in place for the Six Hundred Block. The ultimate goal of the ‘Cars Sharing Main Street’ project is to increase business, and residential investment along Main Street, and to create more jobs for the residents of this community. I want to thank Senators Charles Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand, who were strong advocates in Washington for the city’s federal grant application, and the other members of our Western New York Congressional Delegation. The $15 TIGER III grant will allow the city to expedite the reconstruction of additional blocks of Main Street. The funds will complement significant local, state, and federal investments taking place at the Buffalo Niagara Medical campus to the North. This project will reverse chronic vacancy, lost property value, and blight that held back Main Street and downtown Buffalo for decades. Significant investment will generate and transform the heart of downtown Buffalo back into a thriving and vibrant street.
Buffalo removed automobiles from Main Street over 25 years ago when the light rail Metro Rail system was built, and their absence has spurred vacancies, reduced property and tax values and stalled businesses development.
The funding will be used to continue the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project, which will boost vehicular access and improve traffic circulation in downtown Buffalo, increasing access to Main Street businesses. The 700 block of Main Street was reopened in 2009 and the 600 block is scheduled for construction during 2012.
Senator Gillibrand’s complete letter to Secretary Ray LaHood is attached.