Niagara Gazette — The city will soon break ground on a major infrastructure project that has been a topic of discussion for decades.
Scrufari Construction, a century-old Niagara Falls company, will begin work next month on the $40 million Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center, a project that was first proposed in the mid 1980's.
The city council approved a $22.7 million contract with the construction company at its meeting Monday night, along with several other measures that will see the final phase of the project set in motion.
Council Chairman Charles Walker, who has long been a supporter of the North End project, said the infrastructure project is an investment in the city's future.
"You can't just keep your fist closed, continue to raise taxes and think things are going to get better eventually," Walker said. "We have to have investments."
Niagara Falls is a tourist town and so it needs a welcoming station near attractions, Walker said.
The current train station is off of Lockport Road in a rail freight yard.
"With tourists trying to get into the city we don't need a train station in the middle of nowhere with people being let off in the dark and having to find their way, you know, from there," Walker said.
The work - which is largely reimbursable through state and federal grants - is expected to be completed by early 2016.
The city had to put the project out to bid a second time after responses to the first bid came back too high last fall due, in part, to delays between construction estimates being assembled and the bid package going out. The city had to wait on paperwork from federal agencies providing funding for the project and construction costs like labor and materials experienced inflation during the delay.
The city also signed a project labor agreement with the Niagara County Building Trades Council that guarantees that at least 50 percent local labor will be used on the project.