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Rail Travel May be Outdated But That Won't Stop Dyster


Mayor Paul Dyster 's plan f or a new train station may be off track.
Trains were once a big part of American life.
At one time, many young boys wanted to be a train conductor when they grew up . Now the impulse is fairly rare.
At one time, a train conductor was a prominent figure in society. See back row, right.

It's hard to believe that he's serious.

Mayor Paul Dyster - at a time when the city is busted and the casino money is gone – is recommending that the city borrow money to complete the Dyster/DeSantis train station. The mayor, who just a couple of months ago recommended firing city employees and raising taxes to cover his budget shortfall, wants to go to lenders, hat in hand, in order to cover his train station funding gap of more than $3.5 million.

This $45 million plus "Inter Modal Transportation Center and Train Station" has always been, in our opinion, a terrible bit of transportation planning. But it has now become the potential cherry on the top of the bankruptcy sundae that this city is going to be forced to consume should Dyster have his way.

Forget the mayor's statistics about the popularity of train travel. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you gave serious thought to taking a train anywhere? Whether you want a romantic weekend in Toronto, or you want to zip down to Cleveland to see relatives, or maybe visit New York City for a Yankees game with your buddies, or go to sunny Florida to get away, or visit friends in California. Would you take a train in any of these scenarios? Most people want the convenience and mobility of taking their car. If the trip is longer, most prefer to fly.

A train station is romantic, it harkens back to a time when Niagara Falls had a picturesque downtown, the world moved slower, and life was less complicated. Unfortunately, that was then and this is now. The train has come and gone, and so have the covered wagon and the rowboat.

The reality is that while the mayor continues to pile on overhead costs it can't possibly afford with his "Inter-Modal Transportation Center and Train Station," the city's roads are largely still abominable and our airport, which merits further development, remains undersized. Automobile and airplane are the way we travel today, so what do Dyster and his chief planner Thomas DeSantis do? They build a train station. It would be laughable if it weren't so financially irresponsible and, perhaps, ultimately tragic.

Mayor Dyster is going to risk municipal bankruptcy for a mode of transportation that hasn't been popular in sixty years.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar12 , 2013