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Schumer, After Delivering $33M To Return Cars to Main Street Through Previous Fed Grants And Leading The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law To Passage, Which Added $54M, Schumer Delivers New $$$ For Missing Piece Of The Puzzle To Transform Dilapidated Road To Connect East Buffalo To Downtown And Revitalize Middle Main

Schumer Visited Buffalo Just One Month Ago To Push For Extremely Competitive RAISE Grant, And Called Transportation Secretary Personally To Finally Make Main St Transportation Infrastructure Safer For Cars, Cyclists, And Pedestrians

Schumer: $25 Million To Revitalize Main Street Corridor Will Put Buffalo In The Fast Lane For A Transportation Transformation!

After standing with community leaders at Buffalo’s beleaguered “middle” Main Street to push for federal funding earlier this year, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that he has secured $25 million through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program to finally fix the roadway between Goodell St. and the Kensington Avenue.

Schumer explained that this funding builds on the successful “Cars Sharing Main” to repair this pot hole-ridden stretch of Main Street, which separates East Buffalo from downtown. Schumer personally called Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and now this 2.5 miles of Main Street will be transformed to increase safety, add bike lanes, boost walkability, all while creating good-paying local construction jobs and spurring economic development.

“Buffalo, put on your hard hats because Main Street just moved into the fast lane for a $25 million transportation transformation that will improve the Main Street corridor for walkers, bikers and drivers. Our infrastructure should connect, not divide the city, and I am proud to secure this competitive federal grant funding to finally pave over this problem to create a safe, walkable, bikeable street that works for all Buffalonians,” said Senator Schumer. “This major funding, in tandem with historic wins from the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law will drive the Cars Sharing Main project forward to make the Queen City more equitable and accessible for all.”

“After the most productive weekend of any Senate Majority Leader in recent memory, Senator Schumer has once again proven that that he has never lost focus on Western New York or his commitment to transforming Buffalo’s Main Street,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “This $25 Million investment will revitalize Middle Main Street and make it a modern, multimodal gateway that will connect East Buffalo to our downtown core. This is exciting news for the City of Buffalo, the businesses along Main Street, our drivers, pedestrians, bikes, and all who utilize public transit.”

Schumer explained that the $25M RAISE grant (formerly known as BUILD or TIGER),  Buffalo has just received following his advocacy is a highly competitive national grant program through the U.S. Department of Transportation which fund transportation projects of national and regional significance. Schumer has a long history of securing funding for the revitalization of Buffalo’s Main Street. The senator played an integral role in securing over $33 million for the Cars Sharing Main project, $15M in 2009 and $18M in 2015, from previous iterations of the USDOT grant program. This funding also builds on the over $54M that New York State has committed to the Cars Sharing Main project, thanks to the tremendous funding increases they were able to receive thanks to Senator Schumer’s leadership passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs law.  This project also builds on the over $10 million Schumer delivered earlier this year through Congressionally Directed Spending Requests for the long desired Buffalo transportation projects including $900,000 for the Riverline, over $1.7M for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to boost its electric bus fleet, and $3M for the NFTA Skybridge and Riverwalk.

Specifically, this $25 million in federal funding will fully fund Buffalo’s Transforming Main Street: Building Equity and Assuring Mobility through Sustainability (“Main Street BEAMS”) project to revitalize a 2.5-mile corridor of Main Street in the City of Buffalo adjacent to the Masten Park neighborhood to connect East Buffalo to the downtown through a more walkable and modern street.

Schumer explained that much of this stretch between Goodell Street and the Kensington Avenue has fallen into extreme disrepair as the result of Buffalo’s recent development. Construction, utility work, and renovations along the corridor at places like the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus have contributed mightily to cracked pavement and potholes, which have made commuting this on this road, particularly in the winter months, dangerous for walkers, drivers, and bikers alike. Worse, this chronic disrepair of this section of Main Street has served as a barrier between East Buffalo and the rest of the city. 

This project will completely transform the roadway to provide a smooth and safer commute for all who travel on it, create good paying jobs for the local community, and prime the area for new economic development. Specifically, it would:

  • Completely mill and repave the roadway, addressing the pothole problems and allow for a new, safer traffic design.
  • Add new crosswalks and curbs with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps and signal infrastructure.
  • Create raised accessible bike lanes with barriers to prevent accidents.
  • Improve the aesthetics of the roadway with benches, bike racks, signage, LED lighting, and greenspace.
  • Showcase local artists and artisans with commissioned works meant to highlight Buffalo’s rich cultural heritages.   

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appears below:

Dear Secretary Buttigieg,

I write to express my strong support for the City of Buffalo’s $25 million application for funding under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program. This application seeks to build on the completion of the long-awaited Cars on Main project by revitalizing 2.5 miles of major roadway adjacent to the Masten Park neighborhood and will help reconnect East Buffalo to the rest of the city. As a main artery of Buffalo’s transportation infrastructure, it is critical that we finally invest the needed capital to make Main Street safe, multi-modal, and sustainable for generations to come.

Main Street in Buffalo, particularly a 2.5 mile stretch between Goodell Street and the Kensington Avenue, has fallen into disrepair as the result of construction and renovations along the corridor, as well as a lack of funding for improvements. Anyone who regularly travels along this thoroughfare can attest that potholes and uneven pavement can make this commute treacherous, particularly in the winter months, even causing damage to vehicles. This is especially true for bicyclists and pedestrians, who for years have complained about the state of the roadway and the dangerous terrain for those not in passenger cars. Main Street has always served as a barrier between East Buffalo and the rest of the city, and the condition of the roadway has only made that barrier more intractable.

Most importantly, this project will completely mill and repave the roadway, finally providing a smooth and safer commute for all who will travel on it. This will include a reconfiguration to improve traffic flow, which will feature a travel lane in each direction and a two-way left-turn lane. For pedestrians, new crosswalks and curbs will be added, including Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps at intersections. A one-way cycle track on each side of the roadway will ensure Main Street is truly accessible to cyclists and help prevent accidents between bicycles and cars by establishing a dedicated lane for those who choose to bike. Furthermore, the aesthetics of the roadway will be completely changed as well. Reconstruction of sidewalk buffer zones will include new trash receptacles, benches, bike racks, signage, LED lighting, and artwork, as well as freshly planted trees to line the route.

These improvements will truly make Main Street accessible for all, especially those who live in East Buffalo. This is just the latest step in righting the wrongs of the past, which effectively segregated East Buffalo from the rest of the city. This project was designed with the goal of ensuring equity for all residents of the City of Buffalo, and meets the DOT’s stated goals for sustainability. With the impending completion of the Cars on Main project, which is finally returning vehicular traffic and commercial activity to lower Main Street, this project is critical to the goal making the entirety of Buffalo’s Main Street accessible and navigable for all. 

I whole-heartedly support the City of Buffalo’s application and hope that it meets with your approval. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of my staff if you have any questions.