Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, today announced the formation of the Lehigh Valley Rail Yard Stakeholders Group to develop the long vacant Lehigh Valley Rail Yard in the City of Niagara Falls. Ceretto said that the rail yard, which is currently owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, is an important location that must be redeveloped as both a regional and global transportation hub and job creator.
"The development of this neglected property will help turn Niagara County into an essential part of our region's economy and help create jobs," Ceretto said. "Niagara County is uniquely positioned to serve as a major transportation hub in Western New York.
"I believe that the rail yard project, combined with Niagara County's close proximity to major cities in both the northeastern U.S. and Canada, Niagara Falls International Airport, the Air Force Reserve Base, three international bridges, as well as a modern highway and rail system, will enable Niagara Falls to serve as the regional transportation hub, taking advantage of the rail, truck and plane cargo coming through this region, resulting in more economic development, expansion and job growth."
To put the plan in motion, Ceretto and Samuel Ferraro, commissioner of the Niagara County Center for Economic Development, recently met with the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council and are working aggressively to make the Lehigh Valley Rail Yard an integral part of any future regional transit strategy.
Moreover, to make sure that the rail yard meets the needs of the local community, Ceretto invited Niagara County, the City of Niagara Falls, the aforementioned groups, and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Agency, along with Richard Palladino, business manager for Local 91, to convene a working group to further redevelop the site. The group's first meeting will take place on March 16.
"The development of this location will mean jobs," Palladino said. "I am pleased that Assemblyman Ceretto is creating and leading this stakeholders group, pleased that jobs are his top priority, pleased that workers will have a seat at the table. These are shared goals, and I'm ready to get to work."