Use land transfer funds to improve public transit

The Dec. 15 editorial, “NFTA should get on with transfer of harbor land," fails once again to recognize the true issue that is before us. With all due respect to both The News and our hard-working congressman, Brian Higgins, the desire of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to be compensated for the waterfront property is not a “money grab.” Rather, it is the NFTA reminding all of us that in order to provide quality public transportation to the citizens of Erie County, the government must provide monetary assistance in the form of subsidy.

As a former chairman of the NFTA, I agree the NFTA should get out of the property development business and focus on the core mission of moving people to work, school and other places in an affordable way.

The NFTA cannot do this without a lot of help from the government. Every world-class city has a world-class public transportation system in place. Even in these great cities, public transportation operates at a deficit and requires subsidy. It doesn’t matter whether you ride the cable car in San Francisco or the MTA in New York, the system cannot pay for itself or by placing the burden on the shoulders of those who need it most.

Why not use this land transfer as a commitment to improving public transportation in Buffalo, by offering the NFTA a vote of support in helping to balance its budget?

Gregory Stamm