Federal grant will support continued examination of new transit options between Amherst and Buffalo's growing downtown/medical campus
Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will receive a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation totaling $640,765 for its Amherst-Buffalo corridor study.
"As Buffalo and Western New York evolves, it is critical we continue to rethink our transportation needs so we are ready to benefit from opportunities for transportation funding," Higgins said Wednesday. "Through this public process, the NFTA and local stakeholders are leading a community-driven review of how to best serve the new demands of a growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, waterfront business district, downtown core, Amherst-based business centers, large university and soon- to-open University at Buffalo Medical School."
The study, which looks to identify ways to increase the ease, speed and convenience of commuting along the Amherst-Buffalo corridor, is currently underway with the support of a $1.2 million Federal Transit Administration grant awarded to the NFTA in 2011. This new award, provided through the FTA's Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Planning Program, will support the NFTA's comprehensive planning process.
These grants are awarded to projects that will seek funding through FTA's Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grants Program. Higgins pointed out less than $20 million was provided for this program nationwide, making Western New York's award of limited resources even more significant.
The Amherst-Buffalo corridor is defined as extending from Canalside, along the existing Metro Rail line to UB South Campus and out to UB North Campus, CrossPointe Business Park and points in between.
The study considers the following options: light rail (Metro Rail), bus rapid transit (BRT) with a dedicated right-of-way, enhanced bus service and routes, and a preferential bus alternative. The goal is to find a locally preferred alternative that is supported by the community and actionable/fundable.
The NFTA is leading the analysis along with several partners, including the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council, Erie County, City of Buffalo, Town of Amherst, University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.