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SENATOR GILLIBRAND & CONGRESSMAN HIGGINS ANNOUNCE CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE REAUTHORIZING ERIE CANALWAY NATIONAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced that Congress has approved reauthorization of the Erie Canal as a National Heritage Corridor. Through this legislation, the federal designation, which was set to expire in 2015, will be renewed through 2021. The bill passed the House of Representatives on December 4th and passed the Senate on December 12th.  “The Canalway Corridor is one of New York and the nation’s great treasures,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The reauthorization of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will help the region's tourism industry continue to grow as visitors from all over come to learn about our state’s great history.” “Proximity to the Erie Canal is uniquely ours and holding this piece of history provides great opportunities for the communities that share this national treasure,” said Congressman Higgins. “Renewal of the federal commitment to promote and preserve the Erie Canalway provides great economic returns and reaffirms the significance of this unique asset.” The measure, included the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, was introduced by Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Higgins, and Congressman Chris Gibson earlier this year as the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Act (HR 4641).  The Erie Canal was designated a National Heritage Corridor by Congress in 2000. Under this designation, a federally appointed Canalway Commission, in conjunction with the National Park Service and U.S. Department of Interior, is tasked with promoting the Corridor as a tourism destination and ensuring that the historical and natural features of the Canal and its communities are preserved.  First opened 189 years ago, the Erie Canal was quickly recognized as a defining public works and civil engineering achievement. By connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, the canal facilitated the movement of people and goods in a way that had previously been restricted by the difficult conditions of overland routes. Today the Erie Canal continues its role as an economic driver, supporting the transport of close to 100,000 tons of cargo and serving as one of New York’s largest tourism magnets, providing recreational opportunities, events, and telling the story of the Canal’s role in the Underground Railroad.  The Corridor covers 4,834 square miles across 23 counties, extending from Tonawanda to Whitehall at the bottom of Lake Champlain, and includes Buffalo, Rochester and the Finger Lakes, Oswego, Syracuse, Albany, Saratoga National Historic Park, and Glens Falls. For more information about what there is to see and do along the Erie Canal, visit www.eriecanalway.org.  
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Higgins Announces Over $2.12 Million for Niagara County Head Start

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the award of over $2.12 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for Niagara County Head Start. “When we provide children with the tools to learn at an early age, it opens doors to education and opportunity for years to come,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. Niagara County Head Start, Inc. Executive Director Geraldine Donovan noted that the organization has been in the business of Head Start since 1977 and currently serves 470 children.  Head Start is based on a national model that promotes school readiness among low-income families with a particular focus on language and literacy, as well as cognition and development.  When compared to their peers, children who participated in Head Start are more likely to compete academically in high school and attend college after they graduate.  A study conducted in California showed that for every dollar invested in Head Start we create $9 in return through increased earnings, employment, family stability, decreased government assistance, crime, and special education costs.   
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Congressman Higgins Announces Approval of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced approval of H.R. 5059, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act for American Veterans (SAV) Act.  This legislation creates a comprehensive community response for coordinated mental health care at Veterans Hospitals across the country.  Congressman Higgins cosponsored this legislation. “Thousands of men and women devote their lives every day to serve our country,” said Congressman Higgins. “We cannot turn our backs on these individuals.  This legislation is a step forward to protecting the safety of these service men and women.”   The Clay Hunt SAV Act is a first step to mitigate the tragic amount of suicides committed by veterans every day.  The legislation requires the Veterans Administration (VA) to develop an interactive website for mental health services to better facilitate coordinated care.  It also requires a third party to annually evaluate both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA mental health and suicide prevention programs.  And finally, to address the lack of mental health professions currently serving the VA, the bill provides an education loan repayment pilot program to individuals pursuing psychiatric services and working at VHA hospitals. Since 2001, over two million US soldiers have served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.  An estimated 600,000 soldiers have a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression.  Approximately 22 veterans commit suicide every day, totaling 8,000 veterans each year.  New York State is home to more than 800,000 veterans and the 26th Congressional District alone is home to almost 50,000 veterans.  Congressman Higgins has made veterans affairs one of his top priorities since joining the House of Representatives.   Any veteran suffering from severe depression and thoughts of suicide are encouraged to call the 24 hour Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, press 1 for immediate assistance. 
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As House Votes for California Drought Relief, Higgins Pushes for Fair Consideration of Disaster Relief For Cold Weather States

While the House of Representatives considered the California Emergency Drought Relief Act this week, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) pushed for fair consideration for cold weather states.  This comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wraps up its assessment of the damages inflicted on Western New York during the historic November snowstorm.  Higgins and other members of the Western New York federal delegation have called on federal agencies including FEMA, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide resources to municipalities and businesses incurring excessive costs and damages due to the storm.  Below are Congressman Higgins’ remarks on the House Floor: [[{"fid":"475","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]] (To access video click above or go to: http://youtu.be/41hwHZ5kMvA) “Mr. Speaker, when a natural disaster strikes, the damage and cleanup costs often far exceed the local governments’ ability to respond and to rebuild. Americans take comfort in the knowledge that the federal government will aid in the response by providing assistance to mitigate the often massive costs of natural disasters. “The recent record-breaking snowstorm in Western New York reminded the nation that Buffalonians are a resilient and generous people. That was on display during the storm and its aftermath, with so many instances of neighbors helping neighbors. “But the storm also left my community with significant expenses in terms of the emergency response and structures that collapsed under the weight of the snow. “That is why I joined the Western New York delegation to urge FEMA to act quickly to certify the disaster and disburse assistance. Western New Yorkers are the first to volunteer to aid other communities in need. Now we must ensure a helping hand is there for them when they are need it.” The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report on the issue of cold weather relief: Major Disaster Declarations For Snow Assistance And Severe Winter Storms: An Overview.  
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Congressman Higgins Announces December Congress on Your Corner Schedule

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the Congress on Your Corner schedule for December. Through the program, staff from Congressman Higgins’ office are available at satellite sites throughout the district to better serve the needs of constituents.   Below is the December Congress on Your Corner schedule:   Friday, December 5 12:30-2:30pm Ellicott-Masten Family YMCA 585 William Street, Buffalo   Thursday, December 11 11am – 12:00pm The Belle Center 104 Maryland Street, Buffalo   Tuesday, December 16 10:00 – 11:30am John Duke Senior Center 1201 Hyde Park Blvd., Niagara Falls   Wednesday, December 17 2:00-3:00pm Access of WNY 609 Ridge Road, Lackawanna   During Congress on Your Corner, residents have the opportunity to talk directly with someone from Congressman Higgins’ office about federal matters they may need assistance with.  Issues discussed often include Social Security, veteran benefits or medals, passports, federal student aid or small business assistance.   Residents can also reach Congressman Higgins’ office in Erie County by calling 716-852-3501 or the Niagara Falls office at 716-282-1274.
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Congressman Higgins Announces $45,000 USDA Grant For Project Aimed at Expanding Farm to School Program at Buffalo Public Schools

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced today that the Buffalo Public Schools will receive a $45,000 federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The grant money will be used to help with the development of a plan for Buffalo Public Schools to expand the use of food from local farmers to be served in school cafeterias. “This grant not only emphasizes the importance of nutrition for Western New York students but it simultaneously supports local farmers and ranchers,” said Congressman Higgins. “Teaching our children at a young age about nutrition is essential to their health. The federal money from USDA allows Buffalo Public Schools to do just this while helping to support the local economy.”  According to Buffalo Public Schools Director of Food Services Bridget O'Brien-Woods, "We are constantly working to educate our students about proper nutrition, along with providing them healthy local options.  This planning grant will help bring local producers and consumers together in a way that will be meaningful to our students.  I can see this as the beginning of a new appreciation among students toward lifelong good eating habits and an awareness and respect for local food production in which they will play an important role."  Implementation of the Buffalo farm to school plan will incorporate students, teachers, parents, food service staff, farmers and food distributors and will work alongside project partners: Buffalo City School District, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), and Health Kids, Healthy Communities. "We are proud of the work youth leaders have accomplished over the last year advocating for healthier and locally sourced school meals and are thrilled that this support will help them to continue this work with a great group of School District and community partners," added Diane Picard, Executive Director of MAP.  United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded more than $5 million in grants to Farm to School programs across the country. The program is made possible by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which provided authorization to USDA to provide grants and technical assistance to help schools gain better access to local foods. 
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Congressman Higgins Announces Over $107,000 in Grants for the Western New York Art Community

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced today that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $107,500 in federal grants to the Western New York art community.  These grants support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation among local artists. “Western New York has a thriving arts community,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.  “This federal support for local artists allows them to continue to enrich the lives of this community through music, art, and theater.”       The White Pine and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society were each awarded $15,000, the Irish Classical Theatre Company has been allocated $10,000, the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts will receive $30,000, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram was awarded $25,000, and Douglas S. Basford will receive $12,500.  The funding will support a number of local art projects including a Distinguished Poets Series, installations by both local and national artists to transform defunct properties into interactive public art displays, as well as a number of musical and theater productions.  The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency.  Since its establishment by Congress in 1965, NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artists across America.   
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Schumer, Gillibrand, Collins and Higgins Urge SBA to Prepare to Swiftly Offer Assistance to Western New Yorkers

LANCASTER, N.Y. - Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Chris Collins and Congressman Brian Higgins today wrote to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Contreras-Sweet urging the SBA to prepare to swiftly administer disaster assistance to the Western New York region. County officials have said they expect the cost of this disaster to meet the criteria needed for federal support, and, if it does, Schumer, Gillibrand, Collins, and Higgins have said that small business owners who incurred losses due to the storm should be able to seek SBA disaster assistance. For small business owners, many of whom have had to shut down for the past week, this federal assistance will be necessary to start the rebuilding process as soon as possible. The lawmakers said that up to $2 million in SBA loan assistance is available to small businesses that are not fully covered by private insurance policies. The SBA will also be able to provide low interest loans of up to $40,000 to qualified renters and homeowners to replace personal property, and up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged homes. Schumer, Gillibrand, Collins, and Higgins are urging the SBA to be ready to quickly assess the damage so that small business owners, renters and homeowners may be quickly approved for any disaster funding in the impacted counties, including Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee & Wyoming if they qualify. In their letter, Schumer, Gillibrand, Collins and Higgins write: “As the total snow and flooding damage is assessed by state and federal officials, we fully anticipate a Presidential-level disaster declaration facilitating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) support.  It is imperative that the SBA act now to ensure loans and disaster response procedures are prepared and also that the SBA be ready to make its own agency-level disaster declaration, should the need arise.” “It is critical that we get federal resources and agencies, like the Small Business Administration, on the ground as soon as possible, so that Erie County and the other impacted Western New York counties can recover and rebuild after this severe weather,” said Senator Schumer. “The SBA must stand ready to approve a federal disaster declaration and provide all forms of available aid for impacted homeowners and businesses, including low-interest loans to help small businesses that have lost inventory and customers get back on their feet.” “Western New York homeowners and businesses that weathered this storm should not have to bear the burden of cleanup costs on their own,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As small businesses in areas hit hardest by the storm assess the damages, and with the potential for severe flooding, it is critical that all federal resources are made available. SBA disaster loans will go a long way in helping families and businesses get back on their feet, and begin to recover. I will continue to do all that I can to ensure that all possible resources are accessible to communities impacted by this snow storm.” “With hundreds of small businesses in Western New York being unable to operate over the past week due to this historic weather disaster, federal resources need to be made available immediately upon a disaster declaration,” said Congressman Collins. “As a small business owner myself, I understand the catastrophic impact an unforeseen weather event like this can have on a business. The additional damages expected to impact businesses operations as a result of flooding have only exacerbated the need for this critical federal assistance.” “Local business is an integral part of the Western New York community and economy,” said Congressman Higgins. “It is nearly impossible for owners to prepare for the lost business and potential property damage caused by this recent storm. I encourage swift federal assistance to help small business owners recover from this natural disaster.”   Dear Administrator Contreras-Sweet: We write to you regarding the recent severe snow storms in Western New York and ask for your assistance in aiding the affected communities. On November 18, 2014, New York State declared a state of emergency for several Western New York counties in response to one of the worst snow storms the region has ever experienced.  Areas around the city of Buffalo are still covered in snow, trapping some people in their homes.  Many small businesses have been shut down for nearly a week and recently the weight of the over 6 feet of snow in some locations is caving in roofs, destroying personal property, and endangering lives.  Soon, the inevitable warming of the area is almost certain to cause flooding of historic proportions, causing further damage and harm to a shocked community. It is for these reasons, in the most dire of circumstances, that we ask for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to prepare to aid this community in the near future by offering low-rate loans to persons who are not fully covered by private insurance policies.  As the total snow and flooding damage is assessed by state and federal officials, we fully anticipate a Presidential-level disaster declaration facilitating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) support.  It is imperative that the SBA act now to ensure loans and disaster response procedures are prepared and also that the SBA be ready to make its own agency-level disaster declaration, should the need arise.  We anticipate that damages from the storm will hit the level needed for the state to request an SBA physical disaster declaration, which is triggered when the physical damage to 25 homes or businesses is in excess of 40% of the uninsured value of the property.  If this threshold is reached, SBA will be able to provide qualified recipients with low interest loans of up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to replace personal property; up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged homes; and up to $2 million to business owners to repair damaged businesses. Thank you for your immediate consideration.  The people of Western New York cannot wait to begin applying for low-rate direct loans from the SBA as they begin the rebuilding process before this holiday season.   Sincerely,   U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Representative Chris Collins Representative Brian Higgins 
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HIGGINS TOURS IMPACTED AREAS

Congressman Brian Higgins (26th District - Buffalo, Lackawanna, West Seneca, Cheektowaga), yesterday joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local leaders on a tour of areas affected by the recent winter storm, and in preparation for anticipated flood relief effo...
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From Washington, D.C., Higgins Raises Awareness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) traveled to Washington DC for votes on Monday just as the snow began to fall in Western New York.  From the Capitol he is raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, communicating with various officials and agencies, and continuing to monitor the extreme weather conditions across the region, including his hard-hit hometown of South Buffalo. The Congressman has been in direct communication with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.   Meanwhile Higgins’ office has been in touch with leaders in other local municipalities and a number of government agencies including: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Guard, National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Small Business Administration.  Today, from the Floor of the House of Representatives Congressman Higgins spoke about carbon monoxide, which can be especially dangerous in emergency situations as a result of blocked vents, idling automobiles and defective heat sources.     [[{"fid":"472","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]]   (To access video go to: http://youtu.be/RKUHM17cAHw)   Higgins stressed the power of installing and maintaining working carbon monoxide detectors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and save lives.  Below is the text of Higgins’ remarks: “Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the importance of Carbon Monoxide Awareness. Each year 400 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning, making it the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the country. The real tragedy is that these deaths can be prevented through the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in the home. “In January 2009, Western New York teenager Amanda Hansen tragically passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of a defective boiler. “After Amanda’s tragic death, her family created the Amanda Hansen Foundation, which aims to educate and promote awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and to help those who cannot afford it, obtain and install CO detectors. I join them in encouraging all Americans to prevent carbon monoxide-related tragedies by installing detectors in their homes. “It is for Amanda and for others who have unnecessarily died that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 4864, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act. This legislation would help states and local governments implement education programs, develop training materials, and to buy and install CO alarms in schools and homes.”   Additional information on carbon monoxide safety can also be found through the Amanda Hansen Foundation at: http://amandahansenfoundation.org/ or the Consumer Product Safety Commission website: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/.   
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Statement by Congressman Higgins

Congressman Higgins released the following statement in response to the current weather conditions in Western New York:  "Buffalo and Western New York are populated by the hardiest people in the world, and Mother Nature tested that hardiness agai...
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ROBERT MOSES PARKWAY RECONFIGURATION UNDERWAY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced construction has broken ground on the Robert Moses Parkway South "Riverway," an $18.8 million project that will enhance access to the waterfront and to Niagara Falls State Park. Along the final one-mile stretch mostly within the State Park, all expressway features will be replaced with pedestrian-friendly park road that evokes the characteristics of Frederick Law Olmsted's original design that historically passed through the area. “Niagara Falls is one of the most visited attractions in the nation, and this project will make it easier than ever for visitors to experience this natural wonder for themselves," Governor Cuomo said. "Investing in the Robert Moses Parkway will enhance the park, expand recreational opportunities, and work with hotel and entertainment projects in the downtown area to increase tourism and create jobs in the region." Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Original construction of the Robert Moses Parkway took away this city’s most valuable asset—access to arguably the greatest waterfront in the world. It’s time we, as a community, take it back. This is about more than tearing something down, it’s about building something up. Transformation of the Robert Moses into a new Olmstedian Riverway brings the city closer to its waterfront and with that comes great opportunity.” For many years, the elevated expressway has blocked views and access between downtown neighborhoods and the Upper Niagara River. This project, expected to result in most road work being completed by fall 2015 with all park landscaping work completed in spring 2016, will fully restore visual and physical access to the various natural and cultural features along the River. As part of the project, an elevated interchange at John B. Daly Boulevard will be removed at the entrance to the State Park—along with the earthen berm on which it sits—and replaced with a modern roundabout and signature entry feature. Other plans include a full path system and nature areas, as well as a new water feature evoking the former Port Day Pond, a favorite local fishing and gathering spot for residents until it was filled in 1960 to make way for the Parkway. All of these changes are aimed at allowing easier access to the Niagara River and the American Rapids – where for generations residents and visitors have had to cross four lanes of concrete expressway to access the water’s edge. Now there will be native plantings and a complete trail network to facilitate hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, all accessible from city streets for the first time in more than 50 years. In addition, there is currently more than $40 million of private investment along this one-mile stretch, in part due to this important infrastructure project. Through the Buffalo Billion initiative, New York State is investing $10 million dollars toward the project’s construction phase. This is being added to $6.8 million in Department of Transportation funds through its Multi-Modal Access and other programs to cover $15.8 million in hard construction costs and $1.5 million in construction oversight. Included in the Department of Transportation allocation is about $1 million in federal highway funding passed through the State. Empire State Development previously approved a grant of $1.5 million to enable State Parks to complete final design and construction documents for the project. The southern segment of the Robert Moses Parkway sits in part on land controlled by the New York Power Authority that was created as part of the development of the Niagara Power Project in the early 1960s. The expressway itself is owned by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation, and is maintained under agreement by the New York State Department of Transportation. In 2006, USA Niagara Development Corporation, Empire State Development’s Niagara Falls subsidiary, worked with State Parks, the Department of Transportation, the City of Niagara Falls and the New York Power Authority to draft a memorandum of understanding to jointly solicit funds for the reconfiguration of two key segments of the Parkway to open access to the City’s waterfront. Beginning construction on the Riverway represents the first of these efforts. In addition, the agencies recently began preliminary engineering and environmental review work to reconfigure a segment of the northern portion of the Parkway to open public access along the Niagara Gorge, funded by a grant from the New York Power Authority. The construction contract for the project was awarded to Mark Cerrone, Inc. of Niagara Falls, New York. MCI has been involved in a number of major regional infrastructure projects such as reconstruction of Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls and construction of the cobblestone street network that is part of the Canalside area in Buffalo, as well as efforts to return cars to Main Street in Buffalo. Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Rose Harvey said, “Creating an entrance to the nation’s oldest state park that is befitting of Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision is one of the goals of this project. When this project is complete visitors will enter Niagara Falls State Park from the Robert Moses Parkway South and know they have arrived somewhere special. Historic revitalization is happening at Niagara Falls State Park thanks to Governor Cuomo and his unending support for New York State Parks. I also wish to thank our terrific partners on this project at the Department of Transportation led by Commissioner Joan McDonald, President, CEO and Commissioner Ken Adams and his team at Empire State Development and President and CEO Gil Quiniones and the team at New York Power Authority.” New York Power Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones said, “The Niagara River is one of the state’s greatest natural wonders with stunning vistas and a diverse ecosystem. The repurposing of the Parkway will allow Niagara Falls residents and others to fully enjoy the proximity of the river and highlights the innovative partnership of the state and the city to add to the abundant attractions of this part of Western New York.” Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, "The Robert Moses Parkway is a significant channel that connects visitors to Niagara Falls. This project will make it easier to attract tourists and drive local development and job growth. With thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, this is another win for Niagara Falls and the Buffalo Billion initiative." State Assemblyman John Ceretto said, “This project will finally provide the open views and access to the upper Niagara River that residents and tourists have been craving for decades. Governor Cuomo’s strategic plan for growing tourism focuses on taking advantage of all that our majestic Niagara Falls has to offer. This new gateway to the Falls will result in long term economic benefits by supporting lodging and retail projects on adjoining corridors, as they look to take advantage of this unique new view of our world famous natural wonder." City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, “It is indisputable that Niagara Falls has one of the world’s greatest waterfronts, but for more than a generation, residents, visitors and businesses have been cut off from that resource by the Robert Moses Parkway. Now, with the visionary leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the strong support of his Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, a decades-long planning mistake will at long-last be corrected. Reconnecting the City to its iconic Niagara River waterfront will not only be a major economic benefit; it will also help our residents to recover their sense of identity and self-confidence as we work to accelerate the development of our tourism industry.” Christopher J. Schoepflin, President of USA Niagara Development Corporation said, “The Riverway project will finally re-connect the City to its waterfront, create a proper welcome to both the City and the Park, and prove to be a catalyst for the future of tourism and economic growth in downtown Niagara Falls. This is truly a once-in-a-generation project and a lasting legacy for Governor Cuomo and all involved.” Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair said, “Opening visual and physical access between the Upper Niagara River and downtown Niagara Falls is a natural component for enhancing tourism. Cities all over the world continue to newly discover the beauty and experiences their waterfronts have to offer. We celebrate the creation of this fully accessible waterfront. And, we envision generations of people enjoying the Riverway and surrounding environs which naturally lead to our spectacular waterfalls – one of the world’s great destinations.” Howard Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair said, “Breaking ground on the Riverway project is a critical step toward driving the region’s growth and tourism and providing long-term stability. The project open up access to the river’s edge and make adjoining neighborhoods more valuable for reinvestment as we already begin to see. This plan will revitalize the city and is true to Olmsted’s original vision for Niagara Falls.” About the Buffalo Billion With Governor Cuomo’s commitment to invest $1 billion in the Buffalo area economy, which is designed to spur significantly greater private investment and create thousands of new, sustainable jobs, New York State is helping the Buffalo area to realize immediate economic growth to put “generation now” back to work while setting the foundation for sustainable economic opportunity for future generations. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council – a top economic development plan award winner – will play a key role in how the funding is used to support the expansion of local companies and how to target the attraction of new businesses across the country and around the globe to come to Buffalo. To learn more about the Buffalo Billion, visit www.buffalobillion.ny.gov.