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Higgins Says New Train Station Estimates Are Way Off-Track

Congressman Says Fair Comparison Makes the Central Terminal the Most Affordable Option

After eliminating the gratuitous padding inserted into the cost estimates for the Central Terminal in order to favor canalside and factoring in Central Terminal’s eligibility for Historic Tax Credits, which are not available for a Canalside station, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) says putting the new station at the Central Terminal would actually be cheaper than a station at Canalside.

Following two requests, Higgins, a member of the Train Station Selection Committee, received a more detailed breakdown of the cost estimates for the different train station options.  After a review of that data, Higgins is sending a detailed memo to fellow committee members outlining why Buffalo’s Central Terminal is not only the best choice for Buffalo but the most cost-effective.

Train Station Location Consultant’s Report Higgins’ Analysis
Canalside Option 2: “Modified Tielman” Plan $18,522,533 $18,522,533
Canalside Option 3: “In the Tunnel” Plan $19,708,983 $19,708,983
Central Terminal Option 1



Assemblyman Sean Ryan said “I thank Congressman Higgins for carefully studying the cost breakdown, and revealing an accurate analysis. I and many others have been skeptical of the numbers put out by the consultants, and now our suspicions have been confirmed. The fact that the consultants did not factor in historic tax credits is puzzling. Bringing the Central Terminal back to life will help to spark investment on Buffalo’s East Side. Looking at all the facts, we can see that the Central Terminal is the best choice for a new train station in the City of Buffalo.”

Also noted are several factors in the report which skew numbers in favor of Canalside:

  • Report estimates excessive costs for parking at Central Terminal – over $11,000 per spot to create 50 parking spaces.  Total cost of $553,250.
  • Report estimates the cost of moving a water main at Canalside to be only $70,000 when the expense of moving this same line several years ago cost ECHDC more than $2 million.
  • Report is blind to the fact that if the new station is located at Canalside, the Depew Amtrak station will have to remain, and with that have substantial associated capital and maintenance costs.
  • Report assumes the Lake Shore Limited train (route to Chicago/Boston) would back up for 1.2 miles at Canalside, creating significant delays for passengers and operational constraints that would likely not be acceptable to Amtrak.

Congressman Higgins goes on to say in the memo, “While I have argued here that Central Terminal is actually preferable from an affordability standpoint to the Canalside options, I have not wavered in my view that this important decision should not be reduced to a matter of mere dollars-and-cents.  The Central Terminal alternative meets those two objectives in a way that Canalside never can…”

The final Train Station Selection Committee meeting is scheduled for 9:00AM on Thursday, April 20 at the offices of Empire State Development. If you FAVOR Central Terminal, please let people making the decision know.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO 1-518-474-8390

Mayor Byron W. Brown 716.851.4841 bbrown@city-buffalo.com

Mark Poloncarz 716-858-8500 countyexecutive@erie.gov

 Robert G Shibley Committee Chairnand UB Dean of Archtecture Phone:(716) 829-3981 Emailrshibley@buffalo.edu

Matt Driscoll NYSDOT Commissioner (518) 457-4422

Howard Zemsky Empire State Development, President, and CEO  (800) 260-7313

Thomas George PE    NFTA Director, Public Transit (716) 855-7390

Steve Stepniak Commissioner Public Works, City of Buffalo (716) 851-5636 sstepniak@city-buffalo.com

Caroline Mael Senior Director at Amtrak   https://twitter.com/caroline_mael

Maurice J. O’Connell  Resident Vice President at CSX maurice_oconnell@csx.com 518 767-6445

Doug Funke, President Citizens for Regional Transit crtc@citizenstransit.org

Luis A. Rodriguez Jr. Rodriguez Construction Group 716.464.3257  lar@rodriguez-cg.com

Brendan R. Mehaffy
Director Office of Strategic Planning City of Buffalo (716) 851-4769 bmehaffy@city-buffalo.com

Dr. Constance Moss retired Associate Superintendent Buffalo Public Schools constancemoss@yahoo.com