BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For many people, Buffalo's Central Terminal represents the past, but Rep. Brian Higgins sees it as a cataylst for the city's future.
"The renaissance of Buffalo means nothing unless it can find its way into the forgotten neighborhoods. This is a neighborhood that has been forsaken, but those days are over," said Higgins, D-26th District.
The governor on Wednesday pledged $1 million for a study of potential Amtrak station sites, but it has to be completed within six months, so Higgins met Thursday with state and local leaders inside the Central Terminal to see what it has to offer.
"Every Amtrak train that crosses the state, every single one, regardless of destination, goes right by Central Terminal," said Mark Lewandowski, director of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation.
Lewandowski says it was built where it was to allow for direct travel to places like New York City, Toronto and Chicago, while no other spot in the city can, and he says Amtrak already owns passenger loading platforms next to the complex.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes says for her, it's an easy decision.
"This should be the hub of transportation in the city of Buffalo. It should be for light rail, it should be for Amtrak and it should also be for bus transportation," said Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo.
She says infrastructure funding is rarely spent in low-income communities, and being more inclusive with that money is how the new Buffalo should be created.
"We can put Amtrak here, we can put other amenities here and then that will send the message to everyone that the neighborhood is of value," said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo.
"You will see development all along Broadway, commercial, residential, mixed-uses that could not occur unless there is the kind of commitment to this facility," said Higgins.
Higgins expects construction could start on the Central Terminal in the next 2 1/2 to 3 years.
With $25 million in state funding for the new train station available in 2018, Higgins says he and Sen. Charles Schumer are dedicated to finding matching funds.
Other sites under discussion are Canalside and the Larkin District.