BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins announced a $55 million federal grant that will go towards the Kensington Expressway (Route 33) transformation project.

The grant comes through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act’s Reconnecting Communities Program. A release on the grant stated Buffalo would be among the first in the nation to utilize the program.

The Kensington Expressway project is sponsored by New York State, with Governor Kathy Hochul committing over $1 billion in funding as needed, and a scoping report was recently completed in December 2022.

According to the release, the project calls for a 6-lane tunnel extending from under Dodge Street to Sydney Street. Humboldt Parkway would also be redesigned for cars as well as pedestrians and bicyclists with measures to calm traffic, crosswalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle signals. It would also include a tree-lined walkable linear park in the median with Victorian gardens, sidewalks, and benches, connecting it with Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Buffalo will be among the first in the nation to tap the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Law’s historic Reconnecting Communities Program to jumpstart the effort to reconnect Buffalo neighborhoods torn apart by the Kensington Expressway. This significant $55 million investment will lay the foundation for a more equitable future for Buffalo’s East Side, helping transform this divisive relic of the past into a site that will bridge divides and spur new economic opportunity. The transformation of the divisive Kensington Expressway will be a game changer for Buffalo, which thanks to the local hire provisions we fought to secure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, will also help bring new good-paying construction jobs for residents building the future of the community. Our infrastructure should connect, not divide our communities, and that is why I fought so hard to create and fund the Reconnecting Communities program and personally called Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to secure this major federal funding to help right this 50-year old wrong, and help reunite Buffalo’s East Side and adjacent neighborhoods that were wrongly divided by the Kensington Expressway.

Senator Chuck Schumer

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.