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Bailey Avenue, From University Station to South Park, Is One Of Buffalo’s Busiest Bus Routes, But Is Consistently Plagued With Traffic And Out Of Date Safety Features Leading To Dozens Of Accidents Every Year

Funding Through The Inflation Reduction Act Will Allow NFTA To Reconnect Communities On Buffalo’s East Side With Increased Safety Features, Dedicated Bus Lanes, New More Modern Walkable & Bikeable Street, & Dozens Of Stops To Increase Affordable Transit And Improve Traffic Flow For All

Schumer, Gillibrand: New Bailey Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Line Will Put Buffalo On The Road To A Smoother Commute And A Brighter Future!

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that Buffalo will receive $102,692,562 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Neighborhood Access and Equity Program created in the Inflation Reduction Act to overhaul Bailey Avenue and create a brand-new bus rapid transit line to increase affordable transportation for Buffalo’s East Side. 

This massive federal investment will help modernize Bailey Avenue with new safer streets for all commuters, increasing walkability and bike ability, while also improving traffic flow along the corridor by establishing a new low-no emission Bus Rapid Transit line with dedicated bus lanes to help give those who travel between University Station and South Park the smoother commute they have long deserved.

“Bailey Avenue is the spine of the East Side and one of Buffalo’s busiest corridors, but ask anyone who has been stuck behind an NFTA bus while trying to get to work, it can also be one of its most frustrating for traffic and dangerous with dozens of collisions every year. This $100 million to create the new Bailey Avenue bus rapid transit line is how we can turn congestion and collisions into a smoother commute for Buffalonians,” said Senator Schumer. “I created this program because reconnecting communities with affordable transportation; making long overdue safety and infrastructure upgrades that for years have been beleaguered in Buffalo is how you lay the foundation for a better future. From the students on UB’s south campus to the veterans who us this bus route to travel to the VA on Bailey Avenue, this funding will cut down on commutes and make connections more seamless to improve quality of life for Bufalonians. Whether its traveling for fresh affordable food from the Clinton-Bailey farmers market, or riding the bus to the community center or local pharmacy, these improvements will help put the East Side and its residents on the road to a brighter future.”

“This is a long overdue investment in Buffalo’s East Side, and I’m proud to have advocated hard to deliver it,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I helped lead the creation of the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program that funded this project. Soon, it will help thousands of East Buffalo residents get where they need to go quickly, cheaply, and safely, and make Buffalo more equitable and more livable. I’m a proud supporter of this project and I will keep fighting in Congress to deliver for Buffalo.”

“From the Kensington Expressway Project to targeted investments in food security, workforce development and now Bailey Avenue’s transit corridor, the state and federal government have made a record commitment to East Buffalo,” Governor Hochul said. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, this bus rapid transit system will serve thousands of Buffalonians every day, prioritize safety and connectivity, and ensure our air is clean for generations to come.” 

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that the Bailey Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project will help overhaul one of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s (NFTA) busiest bus routes, with new modern safer streets and better transportation infrastructure to help reconnect communities and businesses along the corridor. Bailey Avenue has some of the NFTA’s strongest ridership with 2,600+ riders every weekday, but it is in desperate need of upgrades to its bus stop infrastructure, road striping, pedestrian crosswalks and road safety features. According to an NFTA study, in the past 5 years on Bailey Avenue there have been over 2,500 collisions.  While the community has long expressed a strong desire for increased affordable transportation along Bailey Avenue, without robust federal funding the project likely could not have happened.

The $100+ million Schumer and Gillibrand are delivering today will support the design and construction of the low or no emission Bus Rapid Transit line and fund the safety improvements along the entire 7.5 mile length of Bailey Avenue from Main Street to South Park. The plan is currently under contract, and awarded will develop a plan to improve and modernize bus service on Bailey Avenue to include features such as dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority, increased pedestrian and bike safety features, as well as an estimated thirteen stations to provide more comfortable waiting areas to transit riders and facilitate connections to east-west bus routes and other transportation modes.

This major award is a direct result of policies worked on diligently by Schumer and Gillibrand. As majority leader, Schumer led the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act to passage with communities like those in Upstate NY top of find, delivering billions for New York State to help finally make long overdue transportation projects a reality. The Reconnecting Communities Program was created by Schumer and Gillibrand who was one of its strongest advocates in Congress in the bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help communities, like Buffalo, address the legacy of highway construction and other systemic inequalities in transportation to create more connected communities.

At Schumer’s urging when negotiating the Inflation Reduction Act, he was able to create the Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program – a program similar to Reconnecting Communities - funded at $3.2 billion. Today’s funding comes from this program and is a direct result of Schumer’s efforts to increase funding for reconnecting communities’ initiatives in the IRA so that places like Buffalo could have the robust federal resources they need to make long overdue investments to improve transportation in underserved neighborhoods a reality.

Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “My Administration has worked collaboratively with the NFTA to incorporate the Bus Rapid Transit program into our Bailey Avenue Streetscape project to make traveling on the street safe and efficient. I am incredibly grateful to US Senate Majority Leader Schumer, NY State Senator Kennedy, NY State Assembly Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes, and Governor Hochul for providing this critical funding to enhance our efforts to improve public transit in one of our city’s busiest commercial corridors.”

"This massive infusion of federal dollars will transform one of Buffalo's most congested and hazardous streets, helping to create a better Bailey Avenue for all who use it," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "This funding will lead to safer communities along the entire length of Bailey in the City of Buffalo. I was proud to secure funding in last year's state budget to assist in the design process of this important project, and I am grateful to Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Secretary Buttigieg for their commitment to Buffalo and its neighborhoods." 

"Bailey Avenue is one of Buffalo's busiest commercial corridors and most active NFTA bus routes. I applaud Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for supporting our local bus rapid transit efforts to make Bailey Avenue safer and more efficient for pedestrians, public transit riders, and motorists," commented Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. "The $102 million announced will transform the corridor across multiple neighborhoods along Bailey Avenue by improving accessibility, walkability and traffic flow while decreasing congestion."

Today’s award builds on hundreds of millions in major federal transportation funding the senators have helped deliver on for Buffalo and Western NY. Last year, Buffalo received the largest award and became one of the first communities in the country to tap this first round of funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Reconnecting Communities program being awarded over $55 million, and was visited by Secretary Pete Buttigieg. In 2022, after Schumer stood with Mayor Brown to advocate for funding, he helped deliver $25 million also from the bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help better reconnect Buffalo’s East Side by finally begin fixing the beleaguered roadway between Goodell St. and the Kensington Avenue.

“The NFTA is grateful to U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and to the Biden administration for this historic investment that will bring Bus Rapid Transit to Buffalo,” said Kim Minkel, executive director, NFTA. “This funding will enhance mobility, foster economic growth by enhancing access to jobs and provide environmental sustainability for decades to come"

Overall the bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law has delivered robust funding for Western NY. The NFTA is expected to receive more than $156 million over five years as a result of the Infrastructure Law. Schumer and Gillibrand have also worked together to help deliver multiple major grants to the NFTA to help them improve service. Last year, the NFTA received $28,947,368 in federal funding to purchase 20 modern, cleaner electric buses and expand charging infrastructure for the fleet. In addition in 2022, Schumer and Gillibrand also helped deliver over $10 million for various transportation projects across the NFTA and Buffalo.