Metro Rail Expansion Project receives mixed reaction from the community

Amherst

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — The NFTA is showing off its proposed billion dollar Metro Rail Expansion Project. Folks got the chance to see updated design plans for the 7-mile expansion.

The expansion would start where the current northbound route ends on main street near UB’s South campus and continue from Kenmore up to UB North.

Those for the project say it’ll provide a convenient way to travel, but those against it say it’ll just create more traffic problems.

“Right now UB uses buses, which look terribly, even if you go to electric the light rail would be much more efficient, carry a lot more people than a bus could possibly carry,” said Doug Funke who attended Tuesday’s workshop. “It’s about time that we get this thing extended.”

“This is something that is really not needed here and the residents that I have talked to who live around were this will impact are not for this,” Amherst resident Kathy Aquilina said. “From where we live we would be hearing the train bells go off so we don’t want that either.”

The NFTA presented updated design concepts, a recap of how traffic will flow and any environmental impact the project would have NFTA officials say they understand there are pros and cons with the project.

“As you move forward in any large infrastructure project like this you have to take into account both the local neighborhoods as well as the community as a whole,” NFTA Director of Public Transit Tom George said.

The NFTA says the expansion will be a big help to people who rely on public transportation.

“It’s access to jobs, it’s access to schools it’s access for all sorts of folks who have mobility challenges,” George said.

The expansion would also connect all three of UB’s campuses, including the Medical Campus downtown.

NFTA officials emphasize this project still has a long way to go before construction can begin. They say they’ll continue getting community input for the next few years and that it could take up to 10 years before the expansion is complete.

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