He says they want to hear from the public about their personal traffic, construction, noise and environmental concerns, so they are more aware of the area and what they may have to do to mitigate those problems.
"Right now, the rough estimate is approximately $1 billion, and half of that would be paid for using federal funds. Under a program that used to be the New Starts/Small Starts Program, there was federal funds made available for infrastructure projects such as this," said Minkel. "The other remaining half, $500 million, would have to come from non-federal sources - whether that's local, state, or private investment - just some source other than that federal investment piece."Minkel believes Buffalo would score pretty high in a race to secure that federal funding.
"When we had done the analysis earlier on, we saw the ridership on the light rail system double; that's a significant increase," she said. "When we take a look at ridership today on the light rail system, on a per-passenger-mile, we do very well."
There will be concern that at least half of the project could have to come from non-federal funding, but Minkel says this project is something that the community itself has expressed interest in.
"This is a project that the NFTA is not pushing on the community, this is a project that's being pulled from the community, where folks have reached out to the NFTA and said it's time, this needs to be done," said Minkel.
As for this phase of the planning process, all public comments must be received by March 10, and they'll be summarized and presented some time after that.