The countdown to a new train station is underway

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo civic and business leaders are looking for the right spot to locate a new Amtrak train station, and they held their public meeting, Thursday morning, to allow the public to weigh in on where they think it should go.

The city’s site selection committee has a lot of ground to cover, in only a short amount of time, and it seems to be a three-way race for the finish line between a downtown location, Larkinville, just to the east of downtown, and the old Central Terminal on the East Side.

Based on the initial presentations, the two early favorites seem to be the Central Terminal and a downtown location, including the existing Buffalo train station on Exchange Street.

Mayor Byron Brown is chairman of the site selection committee, and he said their decision will have a big impact on the region’s future, “significant impact on transportation issues, not only for the city, but for the entire region. So we want to get it right.”

The Common Council, and most of Buffalo’s elected officials are supporting the sentimental favorite the old Central Terminal, and Canadian developer Harry Stinson, who was picked by the Central Terminal’s managers to redevelop the old transportation complex, has big plans for the rundown site.

“Communities that have, in the spirit of failed urban renewal, taken down grand old buildings have lost something, and Buffalo has somehow managed to survive that and it is a wonderful thing for the future of the city.”

But Buffalo business leaders think a downtown location would be better. Mike Gilbert, a spokesman for the Buffalo Sabres hockey team, and general manager of Harborcenter said a downtown station would add to the buildup of the central business district.

“Building a new downtown station would draw thousands of additional people into our business district. It would give us the opportunity to develop a creative way to further the utilization of our light rail transit system by connecting it to commercial trains.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shelled out a million dollars for local officials to put toward the development and design of a new Amtrak train station, with the stipulation they pick the new site in 6 months. Cuomo challenged the business community–miss the deadline, he takes back the money.

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