Committee recommends downtown for new train station

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Thursday morning, the final meeting to help decide the location of a new Buffalo train station took place.

Engineering consultant WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff made their final presentation to the Train Station Site Selection Stakeholders in Buffalo at 9 a.m.

The selection committee recommended the state build a new train station downtown.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he is “confident that downtown is the right location” for the new station.

Congressman Brian Higgins expressed his disapproval of the choice, saying it lacked boldness and creativity.

Higgins advocated for putting a station at Central Terminal, saying it would make more sense in terms of the cost.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz spoke after Higgins, saying “We’ve a long history of making decisions in short time span which hurts the city.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Thursday afternoon:

“There is no doubt that Buffalo needs a new train station to replace the aging structure on Exchange Street. Last fall, I issued a $1 million, six-month challenge to Mayor Byron Brown to convene a group of stakeholders, hire a consultant to provide technical information and expertise to guide the discussion, and to ultimately recommend the ideal location for a new, modern train station. This group, and residents from across Western New York, have been engaged in a fruitful, robust discussion on the scope of this important decision about where to locate the new train station.

I am pleased that the committee has returned a decision prior to the deadline. Today, this committee, with substantial input from the community, made a determination to build a train station at the location that will best continue to help Buffalo move forward. As promised, the state will pay $1 million for the consulting fees, as part of our $25 million commitment for this transformative project. Together, we will build a modern, safe and efficient train station – worthy of a world-class city – in downtown Buffalo.

This was a real challenge, but it represented an opportunity to showcase how the leaders of the ‘New Buffalo’ have the ability to quickly reach a decision when the resources have been allocated to move forward on significant initiatives. We see in this process the difference between the ‘Old Buffalo Way’ and the ‘New Buffalo Way.’ The old Buffalo was slow to make decisions and lack of unanimity often stopped progress. Unfortunately, organizations that wait for unanimity often wait forever because difference of opinion on major projects is the norm. Successful organizations realize that indecision is actually a decision. Indecision is a de facto decision to do nothing.

The ‘new’ Peace Bridge debate that lasted for many years is an example. No bridge was ever built. The decision on the train station is a big step towards the future. I hope those who disagreed with the final decision will put their personal disappointment aside and join the effort, because more important than the specific location is the fact that Buffalo is building a new train station. Now it’s time to take the next step and get it done – fast and right. The state will be a full partner.

I thank Mayor Brown, Dean Shibley and the stakeholders for all of their efforts, as well as WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering consultant that has assisted the committee with answering the questions, presenting the facts, and providing the data to support a thoughtful decision.”

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