Higgins’ Committee Passes GSA Courthouse Construction Resolution
Washington, DC—Today the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, of which Congressman Brian Higgins’s (NY-27) is a member, passed a resolution authorizing the General Services Administration (GSA) to proceed with construction of the Buffalo Courthouse. This action removes the final impediment to construction of the new federal courthouse in Buffalo and approves federal funding for use in construction. Higgins worked closely with Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (MN-08) to get the resolution before the committee. Construction will commence this summer, no later than Labor Day, and will take 33 months. Court personnel are expected to move in to the new facility by mid-2010.
“For the federal government, this is just another courthouse,” said Higgins. “For the people of Buffalo and Western New York, this is a major economic development project which will create hundreds of construction jobs, and will have a lasting impact by revitalizing Niagara Square and the surrounding downtown area. We have waited for almost seven years for this new courthouse to be built, and finally, we have progress. The passage of this resolution in my committee today is a huge victory for Buffalo. Chairman Oberstar has been our biggest ally during this process, and I am honored to serve with someone like him who understands the economic complexities that Buffalo faces, and will no longer allow our great City to be ignored. I am pleased to have fought alongside Senators Schumer and Clinton and Representatives Slaughter and Reynolds for this critical project, and know that they all recognize and understand the value of this new courthouse.”
“The General Service Administration’s decision to put the Buffalo facility at the top of its courthouse priority list clearly demonstrates that this is a necessary, long-overdue project that must move forward. A new courthouse would meet the needs of the community and provide adequate security for judges, attorneys, court personnel, and others who have business in the building,” said Chairman Oberstar. “Representative Higgins has been a staunch advocate for the new courthouse, and he deserves a lot of credit in getting the project over the final hurdle.”
The Judicial Conference ranks the Buffalo Courthouse as its top construction priority nationwide. It has been determined that the existing Michael Dillon U.S. Courthouse is no longer adequate and has major security concerns. GSA received $14.2 million from Congress for acquisition of land and design of the new Buffalo Courthouse from 2000 through 2002. GSA acquired property on Niagara Square, and the new courthouse design has won award and acclaim. However no funding was provided to move to construction until February 15, when Congress provided $280.8 million to GSA for courthouse construction nationwide. The resolution passed by Higgins’ committee today provides the final authorization GSA needs to use that funding to proceed with construction of the Buffalo Courthouse.