Support growing for Metro Rail extension

Jan 21, 2016

Local supporters of expanded public transit are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, with increasing support for extending the Metro Rail.

Doug Funke is president of Citizens for Regional Transit.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Speaking to the annual meeting of Citizens for Regional Transit, Doug Funke says there is increasing public interest and the NFTA is doing two-extension studies, to UB in Amherst and into the Cobblestone District near Canalside.

Funke says the group is taking no position on the site for a new football stadium but he favors Orchard Park.

"We're already got parking. We've already got infrastructure and you have a right of way for light rail that goes there. So, instead of spending money in the city, put the stadium out there and use that right of way, use the money you're going to invest into light rail," Funke said.

"Not only does it give you light rail to the stadium on game day for all the thousands of people that need to get there in a short period of time, but it's also a park and ride for the rest of the year."

Funke says more and more cities are starting transit systems or expanding what they have, whether light rail, heavy rail or commuter trains. He says the Millennial Generation of young people is increasingly vocal on the need for better public transportation.