NFTA Metro Rail stationed inside the DL&W Terminal. January 10, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Clearing the tracks for Metro Rail expansion

"The more affordable public transportation that a city can have, the better"

April 01, 2019 - 11:52 pm

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Local officials are excited about the Metro Rail's future, especially after the state announced a significant investment into the system.

"We got a committment to bring home $100 million for the NFTA rail capital program," said State Senator and Transportation Committee Chair Tim Kennedy.

Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen noted that a modern and efficient public transit system is essential for any metropolis.

"It is what attracts business, so it does help in commerce, it does help in employment," said Pridgen. "Not everyone in the City of Buffalo has a car, nor does everyone in the City of Buffalo desire a car. So, the more affordable public transportation that a city can have, the better it will fare."

And Kennedy is already thinking years ahead in terms of expansion.

"The airport is next, and as far as I'm concerned, the five million people that fly out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport each an every year should be connected to downtown Buffalo right through the East Side to make sure that there is an ease of access for transportation services," said Kennedy.

Pridgen is extremely interested in the idea.

"As much as we can expand any type of service out to our airport is a tremendous asset," he said. "As Buffalo becomes more and more of a destination city, I think it is important to tourists and to people from Buffalo. You know, I'd love to jump on the train, get off at the airport, not have to pay for parking, and jump back on the train. I also think it does well for the environment. Now, that's a huge project, a huge undertaking, and if the state can afford to do it, I would welcome it with open arms."

Hear the full conversation with Pidgen below:

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