BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Major renovations on Buffalo’s Exchange Street Station are completed.

Officials cut the ribbon on the new and improved train station Sunday that will serve as a transportation hub for downtown Buffalo.

Officials say the station will provide direct connections to the metro rail, buses, and taxi services and will promote economic activity and tourism for the entire Western New York region.

“Access to multiple forms of transportation is essential to growing any local economy. For far too long, the Queen City has been without a welcoming rail station that’s commensurate with the growth Western New York has experienced in recent years,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the hard work of so many people, Buffalo now has the modern transportation hub it deserves – and with the completion of this project we are sending a message that we can still build and get things done even during COVID.”

The new station comes equipped with a new covered pedestrian plaza and increased accommodation for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly materials were used in the station’s construction.

It also offers additional seating, parking, and a redesigned platform to make it safer for passengers to board and depart trains.

 “This new station is a shining beacon of hope for the future as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a symbol of Buffalo’s strength and resiliency, enhancing transportation and connectivity in the area. Downtown Buffalo has become a destination, and this station extends a vital corridor to the waterfront and continues our efforts to build back better our economy, increase tourism and enhance quality of life,” said  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

A Taste NY kiosk will also serve local food and beverages on October weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will add evening hours in November, from 6 to 9 p.m. The current product list is available here.

The state awarded a $27.7 million design-build contract for the construction of the station in December of 2018.

Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.