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Lawmakers speak out on funding for Buffalo Billion Phase II

Community demands money be included in budget
Posted at 7:13 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 19:13:39-05

Phase two of the Buffalo Billion is looking to change the face of the Queen City again, but only if some heavy hitters stand behind local lawmakers.

The new phase of investment is looking to zero-in on major improvements to areas of education, entrepreneurial-ship, development and transportation.

We already see the benefits from Phase one of the Buffalo Billion Project around the city.

On Friday, community leaders sent a strong message to Albany, saying Phase two of the project is just as important.

Nearly a dozen members of Buffalo's leading community-driven organizations joined Senator Tim Kennedy to send Albany a message -- the upcoming state budget must support Phase two of the Buffalo Billion Project.

If secured, Phase two would support the expansion of things like the Metro Rail, something thousands of western New Yorkers depend on daily. From 2014 to 2015, ridership decreased by nearly 230,000 riders. That number jumped back up in 2016, as ridership topped over 5 million people.

Senator Kennedy and NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkle called this funding a "game changer" for the community.

State funds would essentially double the size of the existing system, connecting UB South Campus and UB North, something students say is long overdue.

As for a timeline, Senator Kennedy says you never can be too sure when it comes to budgetary matters, but he's holding strong to his stance and his city.