Plans for a new Amtrak station, in downtown Buffalo, are moving forward. The state is planning to start work on the $25 million project this fall. But, Congressman Brian Higgins is not giving up on locating the new station in the historic Central Terminal.
The new station, according to the New York State Department of Transportation, "will be built on the same site as the current [Exchange Street] station." Higgins says, he thinks, the community will look back one day with a collective regret.
"Almost 90% of respondents to the site selection committee...preferred the Central Terminal. So this is not a decision that's widely supported by the public to site a new Amtrak station in downtown Buffalo," Higgins said.
An informal open house about the project is being held by the DOT tonight. And Higgins' staff will be there urging the state to reconsider the Central Terminal.
"Keep in mind, that the downtown location for a brand new Amtrak station, you can not access 65% of America. That's why you have to have a second Amtrak station, in Depew, because the track infrastructure will give you access to points west, like Chicago and California, which the downtown station will not provide." And Higgins said, it makes no sense to build a new station, and also pay to operate the Depew Station when that money could go towards revitalizing the Central Terminal, which he says, is a great opportunity for the community.
"There's tremendous benefits with historic tax credits. A developer could save 30% or more of the entire project cost. With a tenant in there like Amtrak, the Central Terminal becomes that much more attractive for a private developer that wants to do mixed-use development including retail," Higgins said.
The DOT's open house is from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum.