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NFTA on Metro Rail Transit expansion: "This is a community project"

Public hearings begin following draft environmental statement
Posted at 11:06 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 23:46:27-05

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The proposed expansion of NFTA Metro Rail Transit won't happen overnight, but the project is one step closer to becoming reality.

Tuesday night Sweet Home Middle School in Amherst held the first public hearing since the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released. The meeting began with a presentation of the findings and then opened up for public comment.

NFTA's Executive Director, Kim Minkel, said several positive benefits were found including environmental benefits in relation to traffic and air quality. Things to mitigate include design of the rail on Maple Road, as well as noise issues.

"We've said all along this is a community project. If this is something the community wants us to do, we're happy to start the initiative. If it's something that the community doesn't want, we will honor the community's wishes. What we've been hearing overwhelmingly as we've taken each and every step, that this is something we need to take a look at," she said.

The report drew mixed reactions. Many in attendance Tuesday night spoke about quality of life concerns. State officials said they will take comments heard throughout the public comment period as they work towards the next step of releasing the final report. After that, the design and engineering stage would begin and so would the search for federal funding. Minkel said the earliest we can see construction would be the end of 2024.

Public comment is open through March 24th on this project. A second public hearing is planned on Wednesday at 1p.m. in the Screening Room at the Boulevard Mall. you can also send the NFTA an email here or through snail mail to this address.