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A 2019 Petition for Investment in Sustainable Public Transit

Whereas; political leaders from across Buffalo Niagara (including mayors, city/town/village councils and the Erie County Executive) have signed the CRT petition calling for a Transit Revolution!

Whereas; over 50 community organizations (including Coalition for Economic Justice, GoBike Buffalo, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, League of Women Voters, Network of Religious Communities, Partners of a Livable WNY, Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, Sierra Club, VOICE Buffalo) and a growing list of business leaders (including Carmina Woods Morris, Ciminelli Real Estate, Douglas Development Corp.) have signed the CRT petition for a Transit Revolution!

Whereas; transportation is the largest source (40%) of green house gas emissions in WNY and therefore meeting Erie County’s announced commitment to the Paris Climate Accord goals will require moving from car-centered transportation to public transit.

Whereas; every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns and over 70% of public funding in public transportation flows to the private sector creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Whereas; public transportation provides opportunities for those unable to travel by automobile (low-income, older, and disabled citizens).

Whereas; hotels in cities with direct access to airports raise 11% more revenue per room than hotels in cities without.

Whereas; Buffalo’s Eastside / Airport right-of-way (ROW) is available and publicly owned making an extension to the Eastside and Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BNIA) among the most affordable. Further, since the Eastside / Airport ROW is not on public roads; disruptions to businesses during construction will be minimal.

Therefore; we call on the NFTA with the Governor and state, county and municipal legislators to:

  1. Make the Amherst extension part of a comprehensive, integrated plan for extending Buffalo’s Metro Rail on all high-demand corridors that includes (1) NEAR TERM initiation of an environmental and preliminary design analysis for extending Metro Rail to the Eastside and airport and (2) study of eventual extension to Hamburg and Orchard Park as originally planned.
  2. Establish additional dedicated annual state and local funding of $40M (e.g., increased vehicle registration fees) to NFTA operations in exchange for NFTA commitment to increase bus frequency (e.g., to 10 minute weekday headways on core downtown routes and priority corridors) and to make service improvements recommended in the 2016 NFTA-METRO Erie and Niagara County Service Plan study, without reducing service to outlying areas.
  3. Establish county legislation that (1) allows for property tax increment financing (PIF), which permits transit development to borrow against future value generated by the investment; and (2) encourages the Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) to incentivize transit oriented development (TOD).
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