Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Local jobs and $55 million dollars in additional funding is coming along with the $1 billion dollar Kensington Expressway Project.
Governor Kathy Hochul and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg were just two of many elected officials at the Buffalo Museum of Science Friday morning to discuss the benefits on the way for bringing the park back to Humboldt Parkway as well as reconnecting the Buffalo neighborhoods by covering the Route. 33 from Dest Street to the end of Sydney Street.
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"We're not waiting another year to correct an injustice that has plagued this city for far too many years," said Gov. Hochul.
"Back in the 50s, and 60s, people thought that this part of our community was disposable. It didn't have any political clout and they could do whatever they want right through it. And they did. They literally severed the artery that was part of the beating heart of a growing, beautiful, robust black community right here in Buffalo, and nobody gave a damn back then. But today, we are here, because of the hard work of people for over a decade, 15 years, who believed in something that was so bold, and so audacious that people thought they could never get it done."
An additional $55 million is coming to project, secured in part by both New York Senators Chuck Schumer, Kristen Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins as part of the Reconnecting Communities Program.
"This funding will play a key role in laying the foundation for a more equitable future here in Buffalo, which is why I was excited to bring Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to Buffalo and show him first hand exactly how the investment will help bridge divides and reunite the community,” said Senator Schumer.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and the Governor put a big emphasis on this project not only reconnecting the community with the concept itself, but connecting the community by providing our local workers with jobs.
"We're working to make sure they create good paying jobs, so the workers get a fair wage and build generational wealth in the course of that repair. That is something we hope and expect to see here on this project in Buffalo.
And yes, that means making sure that a fair share of those contracts go to workers and businesses who actually reflect the community where the projects are happening, so that they benefit from the work and not just the finished product
Most importantly, we look for projects like this one where the community has been leading the way because this is about empowering communities to define their own future. That's what we see here. That's why I think a lot of these projects enjoy bipartisan support," said Secretary Buttigieg.
"So the people who are hurt the most can get these good paying jobs, over 1500 jobs," said Governor Hochul. "If you know anybody wants to go into the trades, give us a call. Because we have so many jobs, opposite of when I grew up here in Buffalo, and all my siblings had to leave because there were no jobs. Now the jobs are there, let's connect the people to the training and the opportunities and they'll be connected to a great paycheck. That's what this is about also."
"We have to focus on homes, we have to focus on black businesses, we have to make sure that there are black and brown workers on this project when over a billion dollars is being spent to reconnect the community. And all of these leaders up here have committed to that. So I'm a happy person today," Mayor Brown said.
"$55 million from our reconnecting Communities Program, alongside significant funding from the state, that's going to help fund an effort to cap the Kensington Expressway effectively moving it underground and build new crossings and park space. On top of that reconnecting Hamlin Park to the rest of East Buffalo. It'll make it safer to cross the street so kids and families can play outside more, it'll reduce pollution from the highway, so that fewer children in this area have the health effects of breathing that air. It will reconnect this community to places that people count on every day parks, churches, schools, and jobs," said Sec. Buttigieg.