FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2011
SCHUMER ANNOUNCES PUSH TO SECURE $32 MILLION FEDERAL INVESTMENT TO REVITALIZE BUFFALO’S MAIN STREET AND DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES – PROJECT WOULD REOPEN CAR ACCESS, REVAMP METRO RAIL FACILITIES ON CITY’S MAIN STREET
Schumer Is Urging DOT To Invest $32 Million TIGER Grant In City of Buffalo’s Main Street Access and Revitalization Project; Investment Would Upgrade Metro Rail System, Reopen Automobile Access to Main St. in Buffalo
In Personal Letter to Transportation Secretary LaHood, Schumer Urges DOT to Provide Grant to Revitalize Main Street, Spur Economic Development, and Create Construction Jobs – Schumer Has Already Helped Secure $2 Million For Downtown Project
Schumer: Investment in Buffalo’s Main Street Would Pave Way For Economic Activity, Construction Jobs in Region
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is pushing to secure a $32 million federal investment from the Department of Transportation to upgrade transportation and automobile access to downtown Buffalo’s Main Street. Since Buffalo’s Metro Rail was put in place 25 years ago, Main Street in downtown Buffalo has been closed to vehicular traffic, which is a hindrance on economic activity in this area. The City of Buffalo’s application for a TIGER Discretionary Grant would support Buffalo’s Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project, which would reopen downtown Main Street to automobile traffic and revamp aging metro facilities. In 2005, Schumer helped secure $2 million in federal funds for road improvements that will help with the restoration of vehicle traffic to Main Street in downtown Buffalo.
“The Main Street Revitalization Project would be a critical investment in the City of Buffalo that would breathe new life into its downtown," said Schumer. “Take a walk down Main Street today, and you will see that the image is far different from a time when shops were bustling with activity and cars had freer access to pick up and drop off shoppers, eaters, gawkers and walkers. Opening up Buffalo’s Main Street to vehicular traffic and improving aging Metro Rail facilities would be a major economic boost for the Downtown, as it would pave the way for increased business and economic activity in the area. This plan would be a winner for Buffalo and would help create hundreds of good-paying construction jobs at a time when we need them the most. With the completion of this project, businesses and restaurants will be clamoring to open up shop, and we will once again see ‘open for business’ signs along Main Street.”
This investment would allow the City of Buffalo to move forward with the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project, which would spur investment and growth in Buffalo’s downtown area by upgrading transit and pedestrian amenities and improving access to Main Street buildings. Also, this project would re-introduce vehicular traffic along Buffalo’s downtown transit mall and improve downtown traffic circulation. These infrastructure improvements would create construction jobs in the short term, and would better link the residents of Buffalo to restaurants, sports venues and agencies in the Downtown area. Schumer noted that these enhancements would also increase property and tax value in Buffalo’s downtown.
Twenty-five years ago, automobile access was eliminated from downtown Buffalo when the Metro Rail system was built. Schumer noted that while the Metro Rail is a benefit to Buffalo, closing the premier downtown street to automobiles has resulted in vacancy, lost property and tax value, and has hampered the ability to attract new businesses and employers to the area. Schumer stated that the Main Street Multi-Modal and Revitalization Project would reverse these trends, improve access to downtown Buffalo, and provide a shot in the arm for local businesses and the economy.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to Secretary LaHood appears below:
The Honorable Ray LaHood
US Department of Transportation
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary LaHood:
I am writing to urge you to support the City of Buffalo’s application for the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) TIGER Discretionary Grant Program for the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project, Buffalo New York. This application advances the City’s highest priority capital project, the rebuilding of Main Street in downtown Buffalo, to return automobile access and to restore aging Metro Rail facilities. The Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project fully accomplishes the goals of the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program.
Both New York State and the U.S. Congress have recently awarded funding to the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project in recognition of the importance of this 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. A TIGER Discretionary Grant Program grant will allow the City to continue to upgrade transit and pedestrian amenities, improve access to Main Street buildings, improve downtown traffic circulation and re-introduce vehicular traffic along Buffalo’s downtown transit mall.
Automobiles were removed from Main Street over 25 years ago when the light rail Metro Rail system was built. Metro Rail is a benefit to Buffalo, but closing the premier downtown street to automobiles has resulted in vacancy, lost property and tax value, and has harmed the image of Western New York as we work to attract new businesses and employers to our region. The Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project will reverse these effects, while generating significant economic benefit and transforming Buffalo’s Main Street into a “beautiful and complete street.”
Thank you for your consideration. If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.
Charles E. Schumer