One Day after Governor’s Million Dollar Commitment to Train Station Study, Federal, State & City Leaders Visit the Buffalo Central Terminal
Local leaders are wasting no time in taking a closer look at one of the potential sites for an Amtrak station in the City of Buffalo. Following the announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo committing $1 million toward a study of potential train station sites, Congressman Brian Higgins, Senator Tim Kennedy, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assemblyman Sean Ryan and Councilman David Franczyk met at the Buffalo Central Terminal to review all the site has to offer.
“This study will give Western New York good information to make smart decisions about our future,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, who initiated the request for the station study. “Buffalo has seen great success by embracing our history and making it new again. In the today’s Buffalo we could see the same thing happen here at the Central Terminal.”
"By pledging $1 million in state funds towards a site study for a new Amtrak station, and giving us a six month window to complete it, Governor Cuomo is supporting Congressman Higgins' call and ensuring that project remains a top priority," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "There are many questions to be answered: Where will the station go? How will we pay for it? What will it mean for the city and the region? But one long-standing question has now been answered on all levels of government: a new station is needed, and we must move expeditiously to achieve that."
“Reusing the Central Terminal as a multi-modal transportation hub for Amtrak makes sense. It pays homage to the building’s history as the gateway into Buffalo for thousands of WNYers, helps restore an iconic structure on the national and state historic registers, brings more activity back to Broadway Fillmore’s neighborhood, and allows access to westward passenger rail lines. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his challenge and implore my colleagues in government to make this happen,” stated Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, Assembly Member of the 141st District.
The Central Terminal, built at a cost of $15 million, opened in 1929. The Art Deco style structure was made to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers. The final train left the station in 1979.
Local leaders were joined by Mark Lewandowski, Director of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC) and members of the board. The CTRC has owned the 18-acre site since 1997, leading restoration efforts and hosting public and private events within the 520,000 square-foot building.
"With the location of the Central Terminal at the main line tracks and at the belt line tracks which surrounds the city of Buffalo, I would agree that this site should be considered as the primary rail station for WNY," said CTRC Director Mark Lewandowski. "Especially since Amtrak currently owns the passenger loading platforms adjacent to the Central Terminal complex."
The site, beyond its grand architecture and incredible history has great functional features. Amtrak passenger trains continue to pass the Central Terminal on tracks adjacent to station today. The Terminal is 2.1 miles from the Larkin District, 2.7 miles from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, 3.5 miles from Canalside and 8.5 miles from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. In addition, the main east west lines of CSX and Amtrak are adjacent to the Central Terminal complex and proceed directly east to New York City, and directly west to Chicago, when boarding from the Central Terminal. No detours or train switching would be necessary to access these major transportation hubs from the Central Terminal.
Restoration, as envisioned in the Buffalo Central Terminal Master Plan, suggests a multi-modal hub connecting Amtrak passengers with bus/taxi service, pedestrian and bicycle trails, potential light rail expansion and capacity for high speed rail. The site is eligible for various federal, state and local historic and economic incentives.
One million in funding, set aside in the 2019-20 transportation budget allocated to the Buffalo Exchange Street Station, will be advanced by the Governor to allow for a 6-month review of potential sites for a new Amtrak station in the City of Buffalo.