The U.S. Department of Transportation is releasing $1.6 million of a $15 million grant, which will be used to complete planning and design to bring cars back to the 500 block of Main Street.
The city has been returning cars to Main Street in stages, and the 500 block, the longest section of the project, will cost $22 million.
The block is bounded by Chippewa and Mohawk streets and includes such landmarks as the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Fountain Plaza and Rotary Rink.
In the fall of 2013, construction on the 600 block of Main is expected to end, and construction in the 500 block is expected to begin. At that time, the rest of the grant will be released, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer.
The funding was announced Tuesday by Schumer and Mayor Byron W. Brown.