NFTA votes to approve $5M to study light rail system expansion to Amherst

Posted at 1:51 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 18:31:19-05

The NFTA Board voted to approve nearly $5 million to fund environmental research to expand the light rail system to Amherst. 

Last year, Governor Cuomo announced $5,000,000 in funding would be made available under the Buffalo Bill II program for study the possible light rail system expansion.

The rail system would be an extension of the existing terminal at University Station along Bailey Avenue to a portal near Eggert Avenue. Officials say the rail would then travel "along Niagara Falls Boulevard turning onto Maple Road then Sweet Home Road, and onto the University at Buffalo North Campus to Audubon Parkway where it would terminate near the I-990."

The extension would come in two phases -- environmental and supplemental. The negotiated cost proposal is $4,797,887. 

NFTA completed the Transit Options Amherst-Buffalo Alternatives Analysis and concluded the light rail system would: 

  • Provide a fast, reliable, safe and convenient transit ride in the Amherst-Buffalo Corridor
  • Link established and emerging activity centers
  • Serve increased travel demand
  • Support redevelopment and other economic development opportunities, and stabilize existing neighborhood
  • Better serve transit-dependent population segments 

Despite the vote to approve the rail, Rep. Brian Higgins prefers NFTA improve the current system before expanding.