No Guarantee Local Workers Will Get Train Station Jobs
By Mike Hudson
A few weeks ago, on the eve of an important council vote about whether or not to proceed with the train station project, Mayor Dyster published an op-ed piece in the Niagara Gazette.
In it, he came up with an entirely new justification for building the new station: It is to be a Soviet-style, job-creation program.
“The rail station project equals jobs. It will create approximately 200 full-time equivalent construction jobs and almost 400 indirect full equivalent time jobs,” Dyster wrote. “That is 137,000 total man hours. An average of 50-plus skilled laborers will be on the project site every day for two years. That’s scheduled and dependable work.”
Nikita Khrushchev couldn’t have said it any better. Comrade Dyster stated plainly that a multi-million dollar public works project, which all evidence suggests will hardly ever be used, just may be the answer to the city’s economic woes.
“Let’s break that down by households,” he wrote. “The rail station carries 3,425 individual paychecks for trades’ workers with it. These are family supporting, full-time paychecks. We need this in Niagara Falls.”
Yes, the people of Niagara Falls do need family-supporting, full-time paychecks. So what guarantee is there that these jobs will go to people who actually live in Niagara Falls? There is none whatsoever.
“The federal government is paying for 77 percent of the project, New York State is paying for 10 percent of the project and Niagara Falls is paying for 13 percent of the project,” Dyster wrote. “These are the same percentages that we all agreed on when we put in the application.”
Dyster forgets to mention that federal, state and municipal governments don’t pay for anything, ever.
Public projects like our new train station are 100 percent funded by taxpayers.
Just as importantly, nowhere in Dyster’s op-ed does he give the actual cost of the project.
The so-called 13 percent of the city's share might grow if change orders and the rising cost of construction add to the cost.
With council approval, the train station is scheduled to open in 2015, just as Dyster leaves office. The costs of maintaining it, providing security, mopping the floors, keeping the lights on and operating the concession stand, will, at least in part, fall on the next mayor, and the taxpayers of this city.
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