Schumer, Slaughter: After 20-Year Wait, Niagara Falls Train Station Relocation Will Finally Move Forward; Feds To Grant Approval, Freeing Up Federal Dollars And Allowing Project To Commence As Early As This Fall
With Current Niagara Falls Passenger Terminal Miles from the Falls and an Inadequate Point of Arrival for Tourists and Travelers, City Has Planned Relocation for Over 20 Years Schumer and Slaughter have Both Secured Millions in Federal Dollars for Project, but FHWA Bureaucratic Delays Jeopardized Release of Funding, Stifling Revitalization Efforts across the City Electeds Announce FHWA Will Expedite Project's Final Approval; Freeing Up Millions and Allowing Shovels to Hit
With the City of Niagara Falls having waited over 20 years for a new train station to adequately connect tourists and travelers with the Falls, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (DNY) today announced that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has agreed to expedite final approval for the project, freeing up millions in federal funding and allowing the City to break ground on the new station this year. Senator Schumer secured $2.5 million in the 2004 Department of Transportation Appropriations Bill, and Representative Slaughter secured an additional $4.8 million in the 2005 SAFETEALU bill. However, despite the amount of funding secured, the project has been repeatedly tied up in bureaucratic delays.
Today, Schumer and Slaughter announced that the FHWA has finally agreed to expedite approval of the project, allowing the federal dollars to be freed up and the project to commence as early as this year.
"With hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to Niagara Falls every year, it has never made sense to have a point of arrival miles away from the central tourist area," said Schumer. "While the city has been proactive in planning a new station and securing federal support, the FHWA has done nothing but stand in the way. It is terrific that they have finally agreed to get the ball rolling, and I am committed to making sure this crucial revitalization project breaks ground as soon as possible."
"Federal funds secured for the new train station for Niagara Falls have been unnecessarily tangled up in red tape for far too long," said Rep. Slaughter. "Tourism generated by this aweinspiring natural world wonder is essential to the region's financial growth and job creation. Over 15 million people travel to Niagara Falls every year, and I am pleased that we will finally be able to get started on this critical project."
Schumer and Slaughter have both secured millions in federal funds to help relocate Amtrak's existing passenger terminal and establish an efficient, secure border agency inspection facility within the National Registerlisted, circa1863 Customs House adjacent to WhirlpoolRapids Bridge and the Main Street Business District. The city's current train station, located over three miles from the Falls in an industrial freight warehouse at 27th Street and Lockport Road, has long been inadequate as a point of arrival for Fallsbound tourists and travelers.
Despite the federal dollars to support the project, it has been caught up in bureaucratic delays for nearly 20 years. In February of this year, Schumer called on the FHWA to expedite the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review so the station could finally move forward.
Today, Schumer and Representative Slaughter announced that FHWA has committed to expediting the necessary reviews and expect to announce final approval for the project within the coming weeks, allowing the money secured to finally be freedup and the project to move forward.
Following this critical milestone in a twenty year long journey, federal funds are now on target to be released for final design and engineering renderings to commence the first phase of the station relocation project, the restoration of the landmark U.S. Customs House. With the FHWA approvals expedited, renovation at the longvacant historic structure has been moved up ahead of schedule, with shovels expected to hit the ground this construction season.
This critical relocation and modernization of the Falls train station is a cornerstone to revitalization efforts underway in the city. The relocation has been studied for at least twenty years since the Buffalo Niagara Transportation Committee first proposed the idea in 1987.
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