WASHINGTON – The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will get a $61.3 million boost from the federal government as part of the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill Congress passed last month in response to the coronavirus crisis – and that doesn't include $21.5 million for local airports.
“Public transportation is vital to the economy of the Buffalo area and this crisis has blown a giant hole in NFTA’s budget that required federal help to fix," Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who pressed for the aid in the Senate, said on Thursday.
Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat who also pushed for the money, announced the funding.
“Public transportation is an essential service and by maintaining operations, we ensure residents continue to have access to healthcare, food and employment,” Higgins said. “We appreciate the services the NFTA and its workers are continuing to provide our community during this difficult time.”
Kimberley Minkel, the NFTA's executive director, said the federal funding will help the agency maintain transit service and pay its employees.
In addition, Schumer noted that the stimulus bill includes $19.6 million for Buffalo Niagara International Airport and $1.9 million for Niagara Falls International Airport.