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DEC 10 - DEC 17, 2015

Reporter Unveils Controversial Plan to Subsidize Train Ridership And Boost Local Economy!

By Anna Howard

DEC 10, 2015

Why not pay people to take a train to Niagara Falls? Otherwise our new over-sized train station will be entirely empty.
This happy train conductor may have no passengers if we don't pay people to take trains here. Hop aboard.

Never let it be said that the Reporter doesn't care, isn't concerned, hasn't got a dog in the fight of making Niagara Falls a better, more successful, more dynamic place to live and do business. We're forever searching our collective soul as we seek to improve the city every day in all possible ways.

Next year the $44 million train station will cut its ribbon and throw wide its doors to handfuls of riders that will be roaded by rail from dozens of miles away. The thought of a $44 million train facility going into business to service a relatively few passengers has more than a few people believing the train station is pure folly. This is where the Reporter comes to the rescue, as it were.

Building on the back of the unbelievable work the Dyster administration has done in subsidizing everything from Third Street economic development to college loan payments to a pseudo building trades education program run from a condemned fire hall, we're offering a sure fire plan to jump start train ridership, boost tourism, and generate tax receipts all in a novel fashion.

We're excitedly calling our plan, "The Economic Stimulation Visitation Initiative." Because the train station opens next year we're anchoring the plan to a transportation element we've named, "Take Niagara Falls For a Ride!" We're recommending the city reach out to the dozens of potential travelers who wish to visit the city via railway by compensating them for the price of their train ticket into town. Yes, we want the city to pay people to visit the train.

Prospective visitors will dial ahead to a city hall number - 1-800-Get Lost - and inform the operator as to date of arrival by rail. Upon touching down at the Dyster train station the visitor will be greeted by a "municipal rail escort" (MRE) and the price of their ticket will be refunded in cash on the spot.

In addition we recommend the city conduct "expanded-flow-through-visitation-opportunities" for these train riders by subsidizing their stays for a maximum of three days for three people. Consider: three people, three hotel nights, meals, walking around cash to spend at the Seneca Niagara Casino and the Town of Niagara Fashion Outlet a subsidized total of $1,700. That $1,700 is paid by the city to the visitor(s). The visitors plow the $1,700 back into the local economy with a whopping approximate total tax benefit to city and state of $136 against the $1,700 expended!

The Reporter conservatively estimates that the first year of the Economic Stimulation Visitation Initiative could deliver 50 train riders per day for a total of 18,250 yearly riders at a ballpark subsidization payout per rider (train, meals etc.) of $566 for a total city payout of $10,329,500 and a potential sales tax benefit for city and state of $826,360 against a city payout of $10,329,000.

For those who pooh pooh the plan as wasting nearly $10 million to produce a city/state shared tax amount of $826,320 we only have to point to the $50 million courthouse, $14 million ice pavilion renovation, $44 million train station and $2.3 million in trash totes to illustrate how much better our plan is than anything produced to date by the mayor's economic development team.

We encourage our readers to call the mayor's office - 286-4310 - and vigorously encourage Mayor Dyster to adopt "The Economic Stimulation Visitation Initiative." Remember, economic development delayed is a property tax increase guaranteed!






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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina