President Trump’s proposed budget eliminates a key transit funding program and points a “dagger” at the possibility of extending Buffalo’s Metro Rail to Amherst, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer.
And Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officials warn that a separate plan to extend Metro Rail at the other end of the line into the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad terminal at the foot of Main Street also is imperiled by Trump’s proposal to discontinue another funding source pegged for the $42 million project.
Taken together, Schumer says, the president’s proposals cast doubt on Trump’s campaign promises to champion infrastructure development throughout the nation.
“It would be terrible for Buffalo,” the New York Democrat said in a phone interview with The Buffalo News.
Trump’s spending plan contains no provision for the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” program, Schumer said, and that presents a major obstacle to obtaining federal funds for the proposed $1.2 billion Metro Rail extension to the University at Buffalo’s North Campus and beyond.
“New Starts is geared toward projects like the Amherst-to-Buffalo connection,” the senator said, pointing to $600,000 he secured for the project’s initial studies a few years ago.
The analysis of the proposal to double the Metro Rail’s existing 6.4 mile system demonstrates why the project should be embraced by the new administration, he said. He pointed to conclusions predicting $1.7 billion in development along the route, an increase in current daily ridership from 20,000 to about 45,000, and a $310 million increase in property values that will raise tax revenues 32 percent for the City of Buffalo and Town of Amherst.
“That’s job, jobs, jobs,” Schumer said, “and the New Starts program is key to getting this done.”
Source: McCarthy, Robert. Trump budget threatens Metro Rail extensions to Amherst, DL&W terminal. March 19, 2017.