Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced the award of $15 million dollars in federal funding for the project to return cars to Main Street in Downtown Buffalo. Congressman Higgins wrote a letter of support for this project in October. The funding is provided through the US Department of Transportation’s FY 2011 National Infrastructure Investments or TIGER III Discretionary Grants Program.
“This is a huge victory for economic development in Buffalo and Western New York,” said Congressman Higgins, who has been advocating for federal investments in infrastructure over the last several weeks. “We have seen the difference it can make, as evidenced by the new activity after the reopening of the 700 block to two-way traffic. This funding will upgrade transit and pedestrian amenities, enhance downtown traffic circulation and improve access to Main Street buildings, breathing new life into an area desperate for the focus that our urban core deserves.”
Approved by FTA, the Cars on Main Street project has received both federal and state funding due to the vital importance of the project to the City of Buffalo. The 700 Block of Main Street was reopened in 2009 and the 600 Block of Main Street is scheduled for construction during 2012.
Automobiles were removed from Main Street over 25 years ago when the light rail Metro Rail system was built. Metro Rail is a benefit, but closing the premier street to automobiles has resulted in vacancy, significant lost property and tax value, and harmed the image of Western New York. The Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project will reverse these effects as public, private and non-profit sectors continue to work together to increase employment opportunities, attract retail and enhance the tourist and visitor experience in the central core of the region.
Congressman Higgins also previously secured $4 million in funding, included in (SAFTEA-LU) the last Federal Highway bill, for the Cars on Main Street project.