Mayor of Niagara Falls sees economic & cultural development, jobs and a future link to international high-speed rail
The City of Niagara Falls received a $16.5 million federal grant last October to construct the new-build portion of a station project (large structure on the left of rendering) that also involves revitalizing the historic U.S. Customhouse (gray stone building at far right; click to enlarge) built in 1863.
The funds are the final part of a $44 million project to create a new train station and transportation hub. It will house an Amtrak station and customs inspection facilities at the U.S.A.-Canada border. Renovation of the Customhouse will also include an Underground Railroad interpretive center. The building complex will be known as the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center.
“The Niagara Falls Station will immediately energize our ongoing local revitalization efforts —to create a hub for transit-orientated economic development and a centerpiece for cultural tourism development,” said Paul Dyster, Mayor of Niagara Falls. “It no doubt means immediate construction jobs."
U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter said “The new intermodal station will put passengers in the heart of the Falls and provide seamless links to other modes of transportation including trolley services." Slaughter and U.S. Senators Gillibrand and Schumer were instrumental in helping to advance the project in recent years.
The Niagara Falls Railway Station will also provide an important link to a proposed high-speed rail line on the existing Empire Corridor, connecting Buffalo, Albany, New York City and points in between. In April 2009, President Obama listed Buffalo as a high-speed rail candidate, and funding was awarded in January 2010 to begin laying a foundation in the Empire Corridor.
The U.S. High-Speed Rail Association envisions a Buffalo to Albany and NY City connection by 2025. They see a Toronto, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Rochester connection happening even sooner, by 2020 (see Map, here).
Mayor Dyster said of the Niagara Falls project, "Perhaps most exciting of all, it gives us an opportunity to play a leading role in development of a high-speed rail system that is going to connect New York City to Toronto, one of the most exciting developments in transportation in all of North America over the next decade."
Mayor Dyster, together with with Organizing for America, will hold an educational meeting that will explain the High Speed Rail project and the benefits it will bring to Niagara Falls and all of Western New York. The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 15, 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM, at IBEW Union Hall, 8803 Niagara Falls Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY 14304. [MAP]
A resurgence of interest in passenger rail travel will reactivate our manufacturing sector and create much-needed jobs. Also, the hope is that our passenger rail system in the future will be powered mainly by clean, renewable energy, helping to end our dependency on oil and reduce our carbon footprint.
For additional information, see reports at WIVB.com, BuffaloNews.com and TonawandaNews.com.
[UPDATE] Tuesday, February 15: City to hold meeting on local high-speed rail plans today