Niagara Gazette — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., this week praised efforts by local transportation officials to push for funding needed to carry out a plan to remove the southern section of the Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls.
The accolades follow a decision earlier this month by representatives from the New York State Department of Transportation and the Greater Niagara Regional Transportation Council to include the removal project on a priority list as part of a request for funds through the state's Strategic Transportation Enhancement Program.
“It’s an important step that transportation officials have heeded our call and prioritized the funding to remove the southern section of the Robert Moses Parkway," Schumer said in a statement issued by his office. "Doing so will reunite Niagara Falls with its glorious gorge and allow for the release of pent-up economic development possibilities."
In December, Schumer urged the GBNRTC — a transportation group representing the Falls and other Western New York communities — to prioritize the use of federal highway funding for the final design for the removal project. He has supported a preliminary redesign submitted by the New York Office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to the Federal Highway Administration. The state parks' proposal seeks to reconfigure the stretch of parkway running from the John B. Daly Boulevard exit to the exit near the Rainbow Bridge. Recommended changes include reduction from two to four lanes along the stretch, development of an at-grade traffic circle near the elevated exchange at the Daly exit and pull-off parking areas to replace roadside spots. Supporters like Schumer believe the finished product will better promote the natural beauty of the riverside green space leading to Niagara Falls State Park.
State parks has previously earmarked roughly $5 million for the redesign. If the request for STEP funds is successful, it could yield additional funds for final design and actual construction work, according to federal officials.
"Today’s action puts us one step closer to securing the federal highway dollars necessary to get this vital project moving,” Schumer said.