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Buffalo Billion Squared to add more light rail

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 23:20:24-05

Governor Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo State of the State address was greeted with thunderous applause a handful of times during his 20 point plan to better the Buffalo area. That was true, especially when the governor announced a renewed effort to extend Buffalo’s light rail to Amherst.

In Cuomo's so called, Buffalo Billion Squared, the light rail would extend past the University of Buffalo North Campus. Currently, it stops at the UB South campus. There would also be an additional stop in the Cobble Stone District.

Daily riders of the light rail welcome the idea.

“I think it would be great. It goes farther, then you don't have to get off, you don't have to take busses. It would be good for the kids,” said Ron Olson.

“I'm pretty sure a lot of people go that far, and they don't really have a train to go that far. So, it would help a lot of people,” said Jakyle Foster. 

Patrick Kaler of Visit Buffalo Niagara would like to see even more light rail throughout the metro area, but says this planned expansion would be a great start.

“I think that's just a fantastic opportunity for Buffalo,” said Kaler, the president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara.

Erie County Legislator Ed Rath, says he wants more information. 

In a statement he said:

"While this issue has been talked about often in the past, it hasn't moved forward. I looked forward to hearing more details about the proposal."

The train to the UB North campus could give access for some 20,000 students to downtown. Previous estimates put the price tag of the project over $40 million. 

In a statement, Kimberley A. Minkel the NFTA Executive Director said: 

 

“The NFTA is extremely pleased with Governor Cuomo’s positive statement today regarding his support for extending Metro Rail to UB’s north campus and south through the DL & W terminal.  Having the governor’s backing is vitally important and most appreciated.  His endorsement will add momentum to our current endeavors to move both of these projects forward.”