BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins were in Buffalo Monday to announce $10 million toward projects to reconnect portions of Downtown Buffalo to the waterfront.
The local elected leaders said the projects will reconnect the areas in the following ways:
- A new greenway
- Expanding bicycle access
- Increasing electric bus infrastructure
- Making the city and waterfront more accessible than ever before
This is BIG news for Buffalo and will revolutionize the waterfront, opening up economic potential and tapping into one of Western New York’s greatest gems: Lake Erie. Thanks to the funding we secured, Buffalo’s downtown and waterfront will finally be connected, bike paths expanded, greenways will bloom, and electric vehicle infrastructure will make the city cleaner than ever before. This federal investment will help a long held community dream to make the city more vibrant, walkable, and accessible to all neighborhoods finally become a reality. I am proud to deliver this over $10 million investment to lay the foundation for a greener future for Buffalo and Western New York.
Details on the projects were provided in a press release and can be found below:
$900,000 for The Riverline Project
With this funding, the Riverline Project will move closer to transforming an unused, 1.5-mile, 40-acre railroad corridor into a greenway to connect Buffalo's downtown and waterfront together. The Riverline Project is a centerpiece of waterfront revitalization in Buffalo and will finally reconnect underserved communities to the area. The representatives explained that for nearly a century, this once bustling railroad corridor was the main artery for working-class local residents to move about the city, however, now this corridor remains unused and has become a barrier dividing neighborhoods. The Riverline Project, located on land owned by the NFTA, is an effort transform this space and began in 2017, but lacked key funding to fully begin. Now thanks to the federal investment secured by Schumer, Gillibrand and Higgins in the spending package for Fiscal Year 2022, the design, development, and construction of this first phase for the project will finally be able to take form.
$1,760,000 for the NFTA Electric Bus Charging Infrastructure
This will allow the NFTA to design, install, and construct critically needed overhead vehicle charging infrastructure at the NFTA-Metro Cold Spring Bus Maintenance Facility to be able to charge 10 of the fleets electric buses. This funding, included in the spending bill through a request from Schumer and Gillibrand, builds on the previous efforts to replace the NFTA fleet with electric buses. This critical infrastructure is necessary for the NFTA to be able to procure new buses and replace extant natural gas or diesel powered transit buses.
$4,844,000 for the NAFTA to Revamp Existing Bus Fleet
This funding, secured and supported by Schumer, Gillibrand, and Higgins, was made possible through a grant from the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Grants for Bus and Bus Facilities Program. This program makes federal resources available to transit agencies like the NFTA to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities including technological changes or innovations to modify low or no emission vehicles or facilities. The NFTA will be able to utilize these resources to procure new electric buses and related equipment, as well as upkeep and maintenance on the current fleet.
$2,000,000 for the NFTA DL&W Station Skybridge
This NFTA project will design and construct bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements along various public spaces near the DL&W Station and Ohio Street Corridor. Included in the omnibus bill by Schumer, Gillibrand, and Higgins, this is part of a larger plan to enhance connectivity and fully connect the area with neighboring trail networks like the Shoreline Trail, Niagara River Greenway, and Empire State Trail, as well as the Outer Harbor and Canalside/Cobblestone Districts and pedestrian access from the metro rail terminus directly to KeyBank Center via skybridge.
$1,000,000 for the NFTA Riverwalk Improvements
In addition to the Skybridge, the NFTA will also now be able to construct new bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements along various public spaces adjacent to the new NFTA-Metro Rail DL&W Station and Ohio Street Corridor following the push of Schumer, Gillibrand and Higgins.