Sequestration Affects Buffalo Office

March 4, 2013 Updated Mar 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM EDT

By Elizabeth Carey

March 4, 2013 Updated Mar 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM EDT

The sequester has hit the Buffalo Passport Office. The U.S. State Department has cancelled "Passport Day in the USA" due to federal budget cuts. The Buffalo Passport Agency was set to celebrate the annual event this coming Saturday by waiving some fees for passport applications. The downtown Buffalo office, in the Gateway complex on Genesee Street, is usually a busy place. It served 758 people in January, more than double the numbers from January 2012. Last year, the office processed more than 90,000 passports.
A report in this week's Business First shows how more people are becoming aware of the office. It serves customers from places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Albany. It's one of 28 offices across the country and is located here thanks to Buffalo's location near Canada.

A report in this week's Business First looks at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, which opened in 1984. At this time 30 yeas ago, construction was in full swing on the hotel and on Main Street, where the Metro Rail was in the works. Now 30 years later, efforts are being made to bring cars back to Main. Mayor Brown says the goal it to correct a mistake that was made in the '80s. The Hyatt has withstood it all. You can read more in this week's Business First.