In a letter to the President and CEO of the National Passenger Rail Corporation (doing business as Amtrak) Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is asking for clarity on Amtrak’s long-term plans for service in the Buffalo region and advocating for reactivation of the Central Terminal. Higgins says “the Corporation should more forcefully and specifically advocate for the return of service to the Central Terminal, as such return is in the interest of the Corporation and its ridership.”
In written testimony provided by Amtrak to the Buffalo Train Station Site Selection Task Force, the Corporation writes: “Amtrak currently serves the Buffalo area with two stations – Buffalo Exchange and Buffalo Depew. The first thing the Task Force needs to address is whether or not there should be one or two stations. This decision will help frame the decision for the new station site.”
Higgins, a member of the site selection committee and strong supporter of the Central Terminal, agrees and believes Amtrak has a responsibility to provide direction. Higgins writes, “The committee is currently framing their deliberation around the question of how best to replace the Exchange Street station; if the question were changed to where best to site a combined replacement to both stations, the case for the Buffalo Central Terminal would then become even more compelling.”
“Buffalo is on the rise and selection of the Central Terminal not only makes an investment in one of the City’s neglected neighborhoods, but it sets a plan for this great city to be connected to other great cities across the nation for years to come,” said Higgins, who expressed concern that the site selection process “is on course to make a serious, generational mistake by failing to return service to Buffalo’s historic, landmark New York Central Terminal complex.”
The Congressman goes on to say in the letter, “the Corporation should note the benefit to its Buffalo-Area customers of access to points West which can be had from Central Terminal but which cannot be had from Exchange Street – 319 of Amtrak’s 510 destinations (or 63%) are more accessible from Buffalo’s Central Terminal than they are from an Exchange Street Station. These include but are not limited to: Cleveland, Chicago, and then from Amtrak’s hub in Chicago to destinations like Minneapolis, Seattle, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Memphis, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone.
“If this community is going to invest millions of dollars in a train station it is imperative we understand the long-term plans for Amtrak service in Western New York and make the best decision to facilitate opportunities for rail and multi-modal enhancements and expansions well into the future,” said Higgins.