As Buffalo continues to debate the best place for a train station in Buffalo, Congressman Brian Higgins says Canalside is not it.
Congressman Higgins says the Buffalo Central Terminal is the best place to connect Buffalonians with to Western Cities and is calling on Amtrak and what he feels is its responsibility to advocate for the best place for the station.
"The corporation should more forcefully and specifically advocate for the return of service to the Central Terminal, as such return is in the interest of the Corporation and its ridership," said Congressman Higgins.
Amtrak wrote to the Buffalo Train Station Site Selection Task Force, saying the corporation already serves the Buffalo area with two stations, Buffalo Exchange and Buffalo Depew. Amtrak says the Task Force needs to decide if there should be one or two stations to help frame where the new station should go.
Congressman Higgins, a member of the Task Force, agrees with Amtrak.
"The committee is currently framing their deliberation around the question of how best to replace the Exchange Street station," said Congressman Higgins. "If the question were changed to where best to site a combined replacement to both stations, the case for the Buffalo Central Terminal would then become even more compelling."
Congressman Higgins says selecting the Central Terminal will make an investment in one of the City's neglected neighborhoods and continue to help Buffalo while it is on the rise. He says it also sets Buffalo up to be connected to other cities across the nation for years to come.
Congressman Higgins says the site selection process "is on course to make a serious, generational mistake by failing to return service to Buffalo's historic, landmark New York Central Terminal complex."
The congressman also sites the Central Terminal's location as being more beneficial to connect the city with other Amtrak destinations around the country. According to the congressman, 63% of Amtrak's destinations are more accessible from Buffalo's Central Terminal than from the Exchange Street Station. These include: Cleveland, Chicago, and then from Amtrak's hub in Chicago to places like Minneapolis, Seattle, Salk Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Memphis, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone.
"If this community is going to invest millions of dollars in a train station it is imperative we understand the long-term plans for Amtrak service in Western New York and make the best decision to facilitate opportunities for rail and multi-modal enhancements and expansions well into the future," said Congressman Higgins.
When 7 Eyewitness News asked the City for a response to Higgins' claims, a spokesperson said the City is "letting data and information drive the ultimate decision."
"Members of the Buffalo Train Station Site Selection Committee were asked not to speak publicly about their preference or opinions on the matter, and those who have, have not respected the process," said the City's spokesperson.