Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 18, 2013

Falls City Council keeps train station project on the tracks

Niagara Gazette — The city council voted unanimously to approve five measures that needed to pass to keep the $44 million Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center project on schedule at Monday’s council meeting.

The resolutions give Mayor Paul Dyster the authority to execute agreements with Amtrak, the New York State Department of Transportation, local trades groups, Wendel Duchscherer engineers and the Canadian Railway Company necessary for the city to assemble a bid package, which will be put out this spring in anticipation of a summer start date for the final phase of the project – construction.

“This is a critical day for this project,” Dyster said. “We’ve put all the items on the agenda that need to be passed before we go out to bid.”

The construction phase is where the benefit for local trades workers comes in. Estimates out of Dyster’s office say the construction of the train station will create 137,000 man hours — about 200 full-time jobs for two years.

About 100 people filled council chambers for the legislative session, many of them union workers and representatives. Most people who spoke on the train station did so in support of the project while a pair of citizens raised concerns about where the city would get the money for its end of the deal.

Also on the agenda was a project labor agreement that would guarantee the use of local workers for portions of the construction detailed within the agreement.

And that means that construction companies that win bids would have to use more than 50 percent local labor, Dyster said.

“That’s a floor,” he said, “not a ceiling.”

The project is largely funded by the state and federal governments. The city won a $16.5 million grant from the federal government in 2010 and a series of other state and federal grants will pay for almost 90 percent of the total cost. The city’s end of the funding for the construction phase will cost an estimated $3.2 million of the $25 million total cost and will be dispersed periodically as the project moves forward.

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