Skepticism Growing over Central Terminal

Local politicians react as indications of Exchange Street train station grow

Mike Baggerman
April 18, 2017 - 4:00 am

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Train Station Site Selection Committee has until April 26 to decide where to place the new train station. Currently, the leading contenders are the Central Terminal on Buffalo's East Side or along Exchange Street opposite where the current Amtrak Station is in downtown Buffalo.

While the Central Terminal was long desired by several local politicians, the skepticism is beginning to rise.

Congressman Brian Higgins

"The skeptics usually prevail but nothing ever got done in Buffalo that's great by the skeptics. I think it's short-sighted but this has always been an uphill climb because people see what's in front of them and don't see what could be. I will continue to fight for the Central Terminal and the forgotten neighborhoods of Buffalo because the renaissance of Buffalo doesn't mean anything unless it includes those forgotten neighborhoods and those forgotten neighborhoods that were once great, proud, and vibrant places. To lose this generational opportunity to make a generational difference by putting a train station where the train station once was historically in Buffalo would be a big mistake."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan

"The easiest thing to do is just build a train station close to Exchange Street. It's not going to have much of an impact on Downtown Buffalo, only a couple hundred travelers come in. I sort of shrug my shoulders and say 'that's fine, you're doing the Exchange Street station'. If you want to have that state money that we're going to be investing to have a ripple effect and a potential to take that $24 million and to grow it, you should start thinking Central Terminal. Sometimes in Buffalo we get carried away by celebrating groundbreakings and we don't ask the right question about what will be the impact of that money. I view just moving the Exchange Street station a few blocks or if you move the Trailways and Greyhound a few blocks down to the new location in downtown with the train station, once again it's something I shrug my shoulders at."

State Senator Chris Jacobs

"I regret that the focus here is on the train stations. I think the thing we really need to address first is the investment in our rail infrastructure. The delays of the rail that we have are a great deterrent for our people who are utilizing it. We have such a small amount of people that utilize our train right now. I'd rather we put $25 million into identifying where they call 'pinch points' on the rail where we could invest in dedicated rails at certain points so we would not have the situation where an Amtrak train has to wait in a station while a CSX train is coming...When we're in a busy point in time, CSX can delay our passenger trains by five hours. People will not tolerate that."

Councilman David Franczyk

"I think the fix was in for downtown six months ago. I don't know why they didn't say 'let's do downtown' instead of raising everybody's hopes. They awoke a sleeping giant, the people who support the Central Terminal. I think those planners that say the Central Terminal shouldn't be picked have awaken a sleeping giant. People are going to feel like they've been given a bums rush if they're not given a fair hearing which I don't think they are...Nostalgia is the best of the past to better animate the future. They say we can't use emotion. Well, I say emotion is passion. Without passion, how can you make a great decision? How can you show vision? You're going to have the same mediocre planning you've had all these years. It's going to be dull as dish water."


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