News Room

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today it has been awarded a Certificate of Merit for Security by the American Public Transportation Association, for its policing initiatives as a part of the 2013 Rail Safety and Security Excellence Awards. This recognition is the result of the authority's commitment to increasing rail safety and security on its Metro Rail system. The NFTA Transit Police has made these commitments a reality; and as such, counter-terrorism has been a top priority in recent years.

The NFTA's counter-terrorism unit, which includes the largest K9 force in the region, conducts random VIPR (Visible Intermodal Protect and Respond) sweeps by screening individuals for explosive devices. The purpose of a VIPR exercise is to have a large, continual, visible police presence within the rail system to deter potential terrorist acts. This initiative combined with the vigilant support of local businesses along the 6.4 mile Metro Rail line has reduced overall crime by an impressive 20 percent this past year.

This program was made possible by a grant through the 2009 Transit Security Grant Program (ARRA funding). As of May 31, 2013, the grant has expired. The authority is currently in the process of submitting an application to renew funding, in hopes of maintaining ongoing police force efforts. Police Chief, George W. Gast stated, "The success of the counter-terrorism team was a collaborative effort between the transit police force and local transit community. It is imperative that this funding continues in order to capitalize on the effects of this program."

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Transit Police department introduced today a new high tech way for people to report criminal or suspicious transportation related activities via a NFTA See Say smartphone application.

With this specifically created NFTA app, people now have the ability to easily and instantly report suspicious activity to a dispatcher in the NFTA police communications center, while on a Metro bus, a train, in a rail station, at the Buffalo Niagara and Niagara Falls International Airports or at the NFTA-Boat Harbor. With just a few clicks, a person can share pictures, text and incident location in seconds.

George W. Gast, Chief of the NFTA Transit Police department said, "We are always looking for new tools to empower people to help keep our transportation facilities as safe and secure as possible. With this customized NFTA app, we are empowering everyone to be our eyes and ears. It all comes down to 'If You See Something, Say Something'."

The NFTA police are just the fourth law enforcement agency in the U.S. to implement this smartphone application for public transit use and the very first to use it for aviation and marina use. Originally designed for use within a public transit setting, the NFTA has expanded it to include its two airports and 1,033 slip marina.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "The NFTA is serious about keeping its customers and facilities safe and secure. This new piece of technology reinforces our commitment of being in the forefront when it comes to ensuring the wellbeing of our customers, properties and employees."

"I ride the bus to work everyday and can see how this app can be applied in so many useful ways," said, Phil Haberstro, Executive Director of The Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo. "The technology contained in this app provides daily commuters like me with the ability to play an active role in the ongoing effort to maintain a safe and comfortable transit environment."

If You See Something, Say Something promotes a collaborative effort between the NFTA police and its customers. It provides a fast, high tech way for people to communicate unruly behavior on a bus, in a Metro rail station, at the boat harbor, or a suspicious, unattended package in an airport parking lot or terminal to NFTA police. This app also provides the ability for the police to proactively communicate high priority alerts during emergency situations to everyone who have downloaded the free app. Think road closures during snowstorms or a missing person report.

The program is discrete - users may choose to send reports anonymously and a rider's smartphone flash is automatically turned off when taking a photo of someone or something suspicious. The report is routed to the console at the transit dispatch center, where a police officer then manages the report. Reports are also immediately available on the Mobile Data Terminals in all 35 patrol cars.

"It's a priceless addition to our security capabilities. It gives customers a chance to send our police officers a message about anything they see; so we'll have a better chance to provide customer service and improve safety on buses, trains, in our airports or at the boat harbor," Gast said.

The NFTA app also allows for two-way communication so complainants can comment back on alerts received from transit police i.e. "I see the missing person" and for the transit dispatcher to ask a rider for more details regarding a specific report from a rider.

Android and iPhone users can now download the NFTA See Say application free at nfta.com/police or the iTunes app store.

The application was developed by ELERTS, Weymouth, Mass., creators of an industry-first personal safety social network for emergency notification. ELERTS is creating better emergency response systems by embracing high-speed mobile networks, smartphone technology and social media.

People get it. "We need to be watchful to help protect each other," said, Chris Russo, EVP and co-founder of ELERTS. "The See Say app makes it easy for people using public transit and airports to contribute to improving safety for everyone." Ed English, ELERTS CEO said, "We're pleased to introduce this emergency notification system in Buffalo Niagara with the belief that people will recognize the value of using the power of new technology to increase the level of their security."

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that it is ready to open its 1,033-slip marina to slip holders and the public one week ahead of the anticipated May 15 opening date.

The NFTA-Boat Harbor at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., less than three miles from Downtown Buffalo will open the 2013 season Wednesday, May 8, to accommodate slip holders and boaters who want to get an early start at docking or launching their boats at the marina.

Peter G. Demakos, NFTA commissioner and chairman of the NFTA's Property Committee said, "As a result of Mother Nature providing us with a relatively easy winter and the dedication and hard work of our employees, we are able to give our customers a head start on the boating season this year."

During the off-season maintenance workers were busy making improvements to the facilities and grounds that include the restrooms, launch ramp, decking and additional picnic tables have been added to accommodate patrons.

As a customer service, boaters who want to file a float plan can do so via the marina's website. Boat captains leaving the marina for one or more days (not necessary for short trips) may file a float plan with the dock master before casting off. This form is available online at nftaboatharbor.com or the dock office. Having this information on hand may prove valuable in the event an emergency occurs.

Rentals for the 2013 boating season are well ahead of last year, but there still are slips available to rent for this year. There are 1,017 slips for boats of varying sizes and 16 slips to accommodate Jet Skis. Slip rental information can be obtained at 828-0027 and online at nftaboatharbor.com.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced the Buffalo Niagara International Airport received a Balchen/Post Award for Outstanding Achievement at the recent 47th Annual International Aviation Snow Symposium.

The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives recognized the BNIA's "snow removal team" with the Honorable Mention Award in the medium commercial airport category. All categories of airports - commercial, general aviation and military compete for the awards. This is the 37th consecutive year that awards have been presented and the seventh time the BNIA has been so honored, the last recognition being for the 2010-11 winter.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director, said, "I am extremely proud of our team of snow removal professionals based on the reliable and consistent job they do in keeping our runways safe and operational during winter storms."

Nominations for consideration come from airlines, pilots, general aviation officials, hotel owners, corporate pilots and ground transportation operators. An independent selection committee screens the recommendations and makes the selections in various categories based on airport size, which is determined by the number of flights in and out of the airport during the year.

In making their selections, the committee considered not only the crew's ability to keep the airport runways free of ice and snow, but also snow removal plans, size of area to be cleared, equipment readiness, personnel training and overall safety awareness.

This past winter the main runway was never closed. "This award speaks volumes about the dedication and ability of our airfield crew, who work around the clock, including being away from their families on holidays and missing family functions while working to maintain our runways," Minkel added.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is hosting the 47th Annual Snow Symposium April 22-23, at the downtown Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Organizers expect 300 airport professionals, responsible for runway operations from around the world.

Kimberley A. Minkel, Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will open the conference, highlighting the economic and safety concerns that make snow, slush and ice mitigation so significant and the importance of successful strategies.

"A snowstorm can cost a major airport more than a quarter of a million dollars in removal alone. The cost of delays compounds that number. None of which compares to the potential safety risks ice and snow can create. The chance for the snow removal teams from around the world to exchange ideas and best practices is invaluable," Minkel said.

This year's featured speaker is Ralph Hood, a pilot and active in the aviation industry since 1972. During the 1980's he taught an aviation management course. He writes a blog and columns for AIRPORT BUSINESS magazine and other aviation periodicals. He has served on the planning committee of Southeastern Aviation Trades Association, as national training director for the Learn-to-fly Program, and as a director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Mr. Hood was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in September 2003, and holds the Class C1C, World Speed Record from Huntsville, Alabama to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

This is the 27th consecutive year the symposium is being hosted by the BNIA Event chairman, Thomas Dames, BNIA Airfield Superintendent said, "Western New York is a great place to host colleagues from other snowy climates. Buffalo, in particular, has always struggled with a reputation of being very snowy, but attendees return to their cities with a very positive message and different experience about the climate in Western New York. "

The featured event of the symposium is the Balchen/Post Awards, which are given to airport snow-control teams that have demonstrated determination and excellence in keeping their respective airport runways open and safe during winter storms.

The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives organizes the event. Mr. Dames can be reached at 716-512-0564 to address media requests during the event. Additional information can be found at www.snowsymposium.org/cfiles/home.php.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Phase II of Metro Rail's Main Street trackbed renovation project will commence Sunday, August 11. This phase is expected to continue through the summer.

The work to replace the track and trackbed has been completed on the inbound section in the Theater District, and now work will shift to restore the outbound side. New track and pre-fabricated concrete panels are being installed starting at the portal, where trains enter and exit the aboveground portion of the rail line (in front of Shea's Performing Arts Center) to Chippewa Street.

As a result, single tracking rail service will be in operation and passengers will be required to transfer from one train to another at the Church Street Station in order to continue their trip on the train. During single tracking, trains will operate on approximately 20 minute intervals.

During this period of modified service, Metro Rail customers with disabilities, including those using a mobility device, need to be aware of special boarding procedures that will be in place during this time.

- Inbound from University Station through Allen Medical Station, passengers with a mobility device must board the first car if they intend to exit at any of the aboveground stations.

- Inbound from Church Street or Seneca Street Stations, passengers with a mobility device must board the last car.

- Outbound from Erie Canal Harbor or Seneca Street Stations, passengers using a mobility device must board the first car.

- Outbound customers boarding at Church Street, Lafayette or Fountain Plaza Stations using a mobility device must board the last car.

To assist customers during this project, Metro will provide special weekday shuttle bus service between downtown and University Station via Main Street. The shuttles will operate during peak times of the day, approximately from 6:30-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

Metro schedules and route maps are available online at nfta.com, in addition to a special Phase II Metro Rail map.

The $1.6 million improvement project is being performed by Mark Cerrone, Inc., Niagara Falls, NY.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Metro Rail will operate modified, single track service Saturday, March 23, due to demolition work related to the City of Buffalo's project to return vehicular traffic to Main Street.

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Metro Rail service along the aboveground portion will operate only on the outbound track. The inbound track will be closed, as work commences on the demolition of the inbound Theater Station on the west side of Main Street.

As a result, at Fountain Plaza Station all passengers will have to transfer to a train on the outbound side to continue their trip.

The day's first train will leave Erie Canal Harbor Station at approximately 7 a.m. and depart every 15 minutes thereafter. The first train will depart University Station at approximately 7:30 a.m. and every 15 minutes thereafter. There may be minor delays in service.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that customers who want their own reserved parking space, close to the terminal when they arrive at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport has become a reality.

BNIA customers wishing to have a reserved, covered parking space in the Daily/Hourly garage, with easy access to the terminal can now go online to reserve a space by the day or for multiple days.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "We are pleased to be able to offer our airport customers this upgrade in parking convenience. Reserved, covered parking right in front of the terminal is a unique service that sets us apart from off-airport parking providers."

Reservations are made and paid for online at buffaloairport.com. After an account is established, the customer indicates how many days, the dates they want to reserve and pre-pays the $3 per-day reservation surcharge using a credit card. They then print their receipt, which is to be placed on the dash board while the car is in the reserved section of the garage. The daily parking rate is paid when the customer exits the parking facility.

In addition, the airport's website features a parking calculator that provides the exact cost of parking in any airport lot, parking availability and rates for each of the airport's four onsite parking options.

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Buffalo, NY . . . Calling civilians interested in learning about the structure and responsibilities of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Transit Police department.

The police department is conducting its third Citizens Police Academy to give people a behind-the-scenes look at how a modern police department functions. The six-week course helps people to better understand the challenges and rewards of law enforcement in general, and specifically how the NFTA-Transit Police interacts with the community.

Admission is free and open to all members of the community, 18 years and older. All applicants are required to pass a thorough background check. Class size is limited to 15 people. Classes are two and half hours and will be held at various NFTA facilities.

Classes start May 1, and will include hands-on workshops, time in a firearms simulator, tour of communication center, K-9 Unit demonstration, tour of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, crime scene/photography, criminal investigations and a ride-along with a transit officer. Participants receive a graduation certificate if a minimum of 80 percent of the course work is completed.

Applications can be downloaded at nfta.com/police or may be picked up at police headquarters at 1404 Main Street, Buffalo. Applications must be received by April 10.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Metro Rail will operate modified, single track service Saturday, March 9, due to demolition work related to the City of Buffalo's project to return vehicular traffic to Main Street.

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Metro Rail service along the aboveground portion will operate only on the inbound track. The outbound track will be closed, as work commences on the demolition of the outbound Theater Station on the east side of Main Street. Theater Station has been out of service since February 18.

During this time, all inbound and outbound passengers in the aboveground section will board and exit the rail cars using inbound stations on the west side of Main Street.

The day's first train will leave Erie Canal Harbor Station at approximately 7 a.m. and depart every 20 minutes thereafter. The morning's first train will leave University Station at approximately 7:35 a.m. and every 20 minutes thereafter. There may be minor delays in service.

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Buffalo, NY . . . Metro Rail will operate modified service Saturday, March 2, due to demolition work related to the City of Buffalo's project to return vehicular traffic to Main Street, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today.

All surface level train service will be shut down from 7:05 a.m. until noon, as construction crews work to remove the steel arches that span the track bed in the Theater District. During this period, train service will only operate underground between University and Allen Medical Campus stations.

To assist customers traveling through the aboveground section, Metro will operate a bus circulator service between Allen Medical Campus and Erie Canal Harbor stations.

Inbound, a bus will travel between Allen Medical Campus and Erie Canal Harbor stations by way of Pearl Street. All inbound customers will be picked up or let off along Pearl Street, a block west of the stations.

On the outbound side, the circulator will operate from Erie Canal Harbor Station to Allen Medical Campus Station by way of Washington Street. All outbound customers will be picked up or let off along Washington Street, one block east of the outbound stations.

A Saturday schedule will apply for the underground train service that will operate during this period, though there may be delays in service.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority confirmed today that they are in receipt of a copy of the final Operational Review audit conducted by the Authorities Budget Office.

Howard A. Zemsky, NFTA Chairman said, "I want to thank the ABO for their time and effort they spent examining the operations of the authority. I feel the findings of the audit validate the extensive effort put forth by senior staff over the past year to address both short and long term financial efficiencies throughout the authority."

The audit, which reviewed and analyzed NFTA operations, was conducted by four auditors over a period of seven months focused on the most recent fiscal years: 2010-11, 2011-12 and April through October 2012.

"We will fully process the audit and staff will completely review the recommendations made by the ABO for future consideration," Zemsky added.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that the NFTA Police Department made an arrest on January 30 in connection with the theft of a 38 inch Samsung television from the baggage-claim area at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

NFTA police arrested 52-year old James E. Livingston of Grand Island, NY and charged him with one count of petit larceny for taking the flat-screen television from the baggage carrousel at the airport January 12.

Upon receiving a complaint from the owner of the television that it was missing, NFTA police officers and detectives reviewed security video from the baggage-claim area and were able to see the suspect remove the television from the carrousel and leave the terminal with it in his possession.

The suspect was arrested at his residence on Grand Island by NFTA officers Det/Lt. Michael Garrity, Detective Kevin Schilling, Detective Craig Palladino, and Officer Michael Livecchi with assistance from the Erie County Sheriff's Dept. where he voluntarily admitted that he had taken the television and given it to his unsuspecting daughter.

Livingston was taken into custody and arraigned in Cheektowaga Town Court. He was released on an appearance ticket and $200 bail. He is due back in court February 11.

The television was returned to NFTA police by Livingston's daughter, who is not being charged in the matter. The rightful owner is now in possession of the television.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that its Metro transportation division is sponsoring an Open House in an effort to recruit needed employees.

Metro currently has various openings for qualified bus operators, mechanics and technicians who are seeking steady full-time employment that offers a competitive starting salary along with a comprehensive benefit package.

The Open House is Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cold Spring Bus Maintenance Office, 1581 Michigan Avenue, (near Main Street) Buffalo, NY. If unable to attend, applications may be downloaded at www.nfta.com.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is soliciting proposals for a concessionaire to provide a combination of freshly prepared restaurant style food and beverage, retail including newspapers, souvenirs, phone and greeting cards, candy, basic traveler health and hygiene needs at the Metropolitan Transportation Center, 181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY.

In addition, machine vending services are requested at the aforementioned MTC and Metro transportation centers in Niagara County located at 2250 Factory Outlet Blvd., Town of Niagara and 1124 Portage Road, Niagara Falls. Vending options should include service for cold drinks, hot beverages and snacks.

The Food, Beverage and Concession Services request for proposal is available online at bids.nfta.com.

Proposals must be received by the NFTA's purchasing department prior to 11 a.m. Monday, March 11, 2013.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that as work continues to progress on the City of Buffalo's project to return cars to Main Street, its Metro Rail Theater Station will be permanently closed Monday, Feb. 18.

The closing and subsequent razing of both the inbound and outbound stations on the 600 block of Main Street was deemed necessary and prudent for safety and design reasons in order to ensure compatibility between vehicular traffic and rail cars in the vicinity of the rail portal to Main Street.

Following the removal of Theater Station, Metro customers, including persons with disabilities will continue to have access to the Theater District from the Fountain Plaza Station via signalized pedestrian crosswalks with disabled access features. The distance between Theater Station and the Fountain Plaza Station is 546 feet.

With the closing of Theater Station, Fountain Plaza Station becomes the first and last station in the Free Fare Zone.

Metro Rail schedules are available online at nfta.com/metro, at m.nfta.com using a mobile device, at transit centers and posted at each rail station.

Theater Station will continue to be fully operational through the close of business Sunday, Feb. 17.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that Metro Rail will extend service an additional two hours Monday, Dec. 31, to accommodate people attending the annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop at Roosevelt Square and the downtown First Night Buffalo celebration.

Train service will run continuously, making stops at all stations during the extended service period. Trains will operate on 20 minute intervals, with special trains intermingled as needed. It may be necessary to suspend service for a time due to the anticipated large crowd that gathers near the track bed in front of Roosevelt Square.

The last train is scheduled to leave Erie Canal Harbor Station heading outbound to University Station at 2 a.m. Tuesday, New Year's Day.

All Metro bus and rail schedules are available at www.nfta.com/metro, in addition to a trip planner that assists customers in determining which Metro routes to use to reach a specific destination.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Santa will be visiting downtown Buffalo Wednesday, Dec. 19, and he's going to use Metro Rail to see just how nice boys and girls are behaving this holiday season.

Santa and his helpers will visit the Metro Rail system between 11:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., and will be stopping at four stations to give out candy canes, trinkets and listen to Christmas wishes. Santa's rail station visits are scheduled as follows:

University Station 11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

LaSalle Station 1 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Utica Station 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Allen Medical Campus 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced The Sounds of Season performances will be returning to the downtown bus terminal (181 Ellicott St.) beginning Saturday, Dec. 8, compliments of musical ensembles from seven local schools.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA's Executive Director said, "With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season now upon us I hope the festive sounds of music and song being performed by the students will be enjoyed by all as they pass through the terminal."

The following schools will be participating on the date and time indicated:

Woodrow Wilson School 12/8, 11 a.m.

St. Mary of the Lake School 12/10, 11 a.m.

Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts 12/13, 11 a.m.

Akron High School 12/14, 8:30 a.m.

Holy Angels Academy 12/14, 11 a.m.

Ambrose Catholic Academy 12/17, 10 a.m.

Lake Shore Senior High School 12/19, 11 a.m.

Each performance will feature between 15 and 45 students who will entertain for 30 to 45 minutes. All are welcome to attend.

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Buffalo, NY . . . A Boeing 727-200F aircraft from FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) made its final taxi today at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Airport and community stakeholders gathered to celebrate this generous donation to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

"As we retire this 727 from our fleet, we are proud to give back to the aviation community," said David Sutton, managing director of Aircraft Acquisition and Sales for FedEx. "The donation of this aircraft by FedEx is just one example of the many ways we support educational endeavors, reflecting the community spirit shared by all FedEx employees in the communities where we live and work."

Howard A. Zemsky, NFTA Chairman said, "Our Airport Rescue Fire Fighting department along with our regional mutual aid partners, are most thankful for the benevolent donation of this ultimate public safety training tool. Having our own plane provides our fire and police departments with the opportunity to train in a real life setting, on a continuous basis, which will sharpen their abilities to react and save lives, should an emergency situation occur at our airport.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director commented, "The hands-on training aspect of having our very own plane to train on dramatically increases our emergency responder's ability to react to potential aviation emergencies in the future."

Today's event represents the 59th plane to be donated by FedEx to various organizations for education purposes since it started the program in 1995. Before its final flight, aircraft 727-200F REGISTRATION NUMBER N268FE provided FedEx with 19 years' service transporting packages to destinations throughout the United States.

FedEx Express

FedExpress is the world's largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date with a money-back guarantee.

FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $42 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a commercial service facility that has an annual economic impact of $1.07 billion, supporting 16,628 jobs in the region. It is served by six airlines and two air cargo carriers. The airport is on target to once again serve more than 5 million passengers in 2012, and year-to-date has processed 37.35 million air cargo tons.

Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Unit

The BNIA ARFF unit got its start in March 1981, when it was created as the Public Safety department by the NFTA board of commissioners to handle both safety and security functions at the then Greater Buffalo International Airport. In April 1981, the NFTA's Public Safety unit assumed control of the airport's fire department duties from the Buffalo Fire department.

The ARFF department currently has a complement of 35 firefighters, four captains and the chief. The unit trains each day in various aspects of firefighting and conducts periodic tabletop exercises and drills at the airfield with area first responders to ensure that when they do work together in the field, they are all using the same techniques and methods to maximize their collective efforts.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that the NFTA Police Department made two arrests early Thanksgiving morning in connection with the burglary and theft of copper wire and pipes from a vacant NFTA Building at 195 Holtz Drive, in Cheektowaga.

The building in which the suspects were apprehended is scheduled for demolition in conjunction with the parking lot expansion project at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport that will add 1,000 parking spaces to the Long Term B Lot on Holtz Rd.

NFTA police arrested William H. Bartlebaugh, Jr., 23, from Clarence NY, and David D. Cummings, 41, also from Clarence. Bartlebaugh and Cummings were charged with Burglary, Illegal Entry with Intent to Commit a Crime, Possession of Burglary Tools, Grand Larceny and Criminal Mischief. Both suspects were arraigned in Cheektowaga Town Court, and are currently being held at the Erie County Holding Center pending further court hearings.

NFTA Police Officers Lt. John Herritage, Officers David Jaworek, Mario Capozzi, Louis Loubert, Charles Loubert, Michael Dau, Michael Bielanin, David Drozdiel and K9 Officer Mark Martinelli assisted with the arrest. NFTA Police were also assisted by the Erie County Sheriff's and Cheektowaga Police departments. Three additional suspects are still outstanding, and the incident continues to be investigated by NFTA detectives.

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Buffalo, NY . . . New nonstop flights to West Palm Beach, Fla. from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport were announced today by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

Starting Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, AirTran Airways will depart the BNIA each day at 10 a.m., arriving in West Palm Beach at 1 p.m. There will be a daily return flight leaving West Palm at 2 p.m., arriving in Buffalo at 4:55 p.m. All flights are nonstop. Flights will operate through February 13, 2013.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "Anytime we can offer our customers a new destination, especially a warm one during the winter, it's extremely good news."

Seats can be booked now at airtran.com. Flights will be on Boeing 717's, which have a 117 seat dual class configuration.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority today announced that Phase I of a $8.09 million improvement project to expand the Long Term B parking lot at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport by 1,000 spaces is ready to move forward. The project is in the first stages of the $6,867,811 award it received as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative. This capital improvement project, which also received $1,226,419 from the BNIA, will accommodate current customer demand for low-cost, on site parking and anticipated increases in passengers in the future.

The additional 1,000 much needed parking spaces will be added to the Long Term B lot that runs along Holtz Drive north of Genesee Street. Once completed, the B lot will have a total of 2,901 spaces.

"I am very thankful for the financial assistance and extensive cooperation we received from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council that has allowed us to move this project forward," Howard A. Zemsky, NFTA chairman said. "Growth at the BNIA has and will lead to commercial development of the surrounding area, increasing the tax base as private investors continue see the value of being near the airport, thus adding job opportunities, which benefit our entire region."

"The Buffalo Niagara International Airport plays an essential role in the development of business and tourism in the Buffalo Niagara region, which is why the Western New York Regional Council is pleased to award the NFTA funding to move ahead with this critical project," said Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Satish K. Tripahi. "The increased passenger usage at our airport is a positive sign for our region, as airports are economic drivers, creating employment, acting as business gateways and serving as a impetus for tourism growth."

Based on increased demand, especially during the holidays and spring break, the airport has been forced to lease off-site property in order to handle the parking overflow, especially from Canadian customers who year-to-date represent 47 percent of the airport's long term parkers. This expansion will prevent that from being repeated once the project is completed.

The BNIA has a daily average of 110 flights with nonstop service to 23 airports. In 2011 the BNIA served 5.1 million passengers, the sixth straight year of 5 million or more passengers. Originally, that milestone was not expected to be achieved until 2020. The BNIA benefits the entire state; even people who have never use air travel. For example, as a result of 805,462 cars parking on site in 2011, of which almost 50 percent were Canadian visitors, $1.57 million in tax revenue was collected and passed on to benefit the state and Erie County.

An Economic Impacts Study of Aviation in New York State conducted in 2009 by the Federal Aviation Administration and the NYS Department of Transportation revealed that 12,827 full- and part-time jobs and more than $620.5 million in expenditures are the direct result of on-airport businesses, including airport sponsor expenditures, and visitor spending at the airport. Including indirect expenditures, the total impact for Buffalo Niagara International Airport was (2009) $1.07 billion, supporting 16,628 jobs.

Starting in mid-November, Metro Contracting & Environmental, Inc. of Niagara Falls, NY will commence with the demolition and remediation of three structures on the property in preparation for site construction. The contract is for a not-to-exceed amount of $48,340.

Urban Engineers of New York, P.C. has been awarded a $407,142 contract for design services as part of Phase II. This portion is scheduled for the design to proceed through the fall and winter leading up to bid documents being advertised in late winter, for construction to start in early summer 2013. When completed, the BNIA will have a total of 7,877 or 14.5 percent more spaces on site to serve its customers.

Senator Tim Kennedy said, "This strategic investment in our local transportation infrastructure will boost the economic competitiveness of our state and help create jobs for Western New Yorkers. More people are flying out of the Buffalo-Niagara Airport, and this expansion project aims to capitalize on the growth. It will empower local businesses with new economic opportunities and further strengthen the economic bonds between Western New York and Canada. I applaud Governor Cuomo and our Regional Council for targeting the right opportunities to grow our economy."

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak said, "Since my days as Cheektowaga Town Supervisor, I have seen the Buffalo-Niagara Airport expand to become the major transportation hub it is today. I know firsthand the economic impact that the airport has on Western New York as well as the potential for growth in tourism and job creation this expansion will usher in. I applaud the NFTA, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the legislature for taking initiative in projects such as this to help our region."

Since taking office in January 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has targeted the revitalization of the Buffalo and Western New York economy as a top priority that will contribute to the overall strength and vitality of New York State. The Governor's commitment to Buffalo and Western New York is evidenced in his unprecedented $1 billion pledge to reinvigorate the city's and region's economy, leverage additional private sector investment and create a sustainable economy today and for generations to come. Additionally, the Governor's creation of the statewide Regional Economic Development Council's resulted in the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council's successful 2011 submission that will bring $100.3 million in state funding to key development projects in eight industry sectors that are essential to Buffalo's future growth and development: health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, energy, higher education, professional services, agriculture, bi-national logistics and tourism.

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans. As part of that process, the NFTA and BNIA was awarded $6,867,811 from the New York State Department of Transportation and Empire State Development.

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit www.thenewny.com.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Metro's new enhanced weekday express service will commence on Routes 60, 64, 69, 72 and 204 Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The new enhanced express service is designed to get people to their destination faster, as a result of making few stops than regular service along the route. Free Wi-Fi is available to all customers on these five routes as an additional benefit. A 50 cent surcharge does apply to all enhanced express trips. Metro's reduced fare policy for eligible riders does apply to the surcharge.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "We are providing this new enhanced service in response to comments from our customers. It is important that we listen to them and respond to meet their needs so Metro can be as user friendly as possible."

In addition to local express service, Routes 69 and 72 will each offer one early morning and afternoon enhanced express trip that was implemented as a result of collaborating with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This new service allows workers to arrive at the BNMC by 7 a.m. in order to accommodate their early start time and will help reduce parking congestion on campus.

All trips via Routes 60, 64 and 204 will feature enhanced express service.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that based on data released by The Brookings Institution, its Metro Bus and Rail service ranks near the top 10 percent for job coverage and is in the top third for providing access to jobs when compared to 371 transit providers in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas. The report: Where the Jobs Are: Employer Access to Labor by Transit, released in July, finds that Metro provides transit coverage to 86.9 percent of the jobs in the metropolitan area, ranking it 11th in providing access to available employment. The report shows 100 percent coverage in cities and 82.2 percent in the suburbs.

In addition, the survey concluded that Metro had a labor access rate of 29.1 percent, ranking it 31st. This is the share of the metropolitan population that can reach the typical job in 90 minutes via Metro service. Cities have 51.9 percent and suburbs have 18.6 percent access.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "The survey shows that Metro's core service does a good job of providing access to jobs, but the shifting of jobs from the cities to the suburbs obstructs our ability to connect workers to opportunities and jobs in the outer suburban communities. As elected officials and community leaders continue to grapple with limited financial resources, it is critical for transit investment decisions to simultaneously address suburban coverage gaps, as well as disconnected neighborhoods."

The report ranks Metro higher in each category than comparable transit agencies in New York State and ahead of communities such as Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburg and Cleveland.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that detectives from the NFTA Transit Police department have solved the case of a Jan. 7, 2012 shooting involving a Metro bus.

While on the corner of Kensington Avenue and Bailey Avenue, a Metro bus was struck on the passenger side by a single gunshot from an unknown suspect. As a result of viewing videos from the bus, businesses in the vicinity of the shooting and interviewing witnesses at the scene, NFTA detectives Christopher DiPasquale and David Wayne were able to obtain several images of persons of interest.

George Gast, NFTA Chief of Police said, "This is a perfect example of tenacious police work that ultimately led to the arrest of the individual responsible for recklessly endangering the safely of Metro riders and others in the vicinity of the shooting."

The Detective Bureau was able to identify several subjects from video evidence and conducted interviews with the subjects. With the assistance of the FBI Task Force and utilizing video evidence, detectives were able to obtain a possible identification of the suspect involved with the bus shooting. After obtaining an identification of a possible suspect, Detective DiPasquale and Lt. John Heritage interviewed and received a handwritten statement from the suspect, of his involvement in this incident.

The suspect voluntarily reported to NFTA Police Headquarters, with his legal guardian and was charged with Criminal Possession of a weapon 2nd, Reckless Endangerment 1st, and Criminal Mischief 3rd. Due to the suspect's age (15) at the time of the incident, the suspect was charged in Erie County Family Court, which is where the matter is currently being handled.

The Buffalo Police department also assisted in the investigation.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will host a luncheon at the Protocol Restaurant, 6766 Transit Rd., Williamsville, Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m., to recognize the outstanding safety records of Metro vehicle maintenance workers and bus and train operators. In additional, the authority will salute employees who reached 25-years of employment with the NFTA.

This year 29 Metro operators will be recognized for safely operating their vehicle for 10 or 20 years, and eight maintenance employees will be congratulated for having a 10-year safety record. In addition, 37 NFTA employees celebrated a silver anniversary.

Further, Metro Rail operator Jose Ramirez will receive a special recognition for his quick actions in activating his train's emergency braking system as it approached two men in the track bed at the Utica Street Station April 5.

Acting NFTA Chairman, Henry M. Sloma said, "These men and women have dedicated a quarter-century of their lives to helping the people of Western New York get to work, school, church, a doctor's appointment or visit loved-ones. It is an honorable achievement in an honorable profession."

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director, "There is no way to understate the importance of safety in this business, so it is a pleasure to thank the men and women who have been able to maintain such incredible safety records."

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Buffalo Airport Plays Host for 27th Consecutive Year

Buffalo, NY . . . The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is hosting the 46th Annual Snow Symposium April 16-18 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Organizers expect a record attendance of 550 airport professionals, responsible for runway operations from around the world to attend.

Much of the draw centers on an impressive display of snow fighting equipment (runway plows, broom trucks, snow blowers) and vehicles that will fill 64,000 square feet of the convention hall. Manufactures are using the show as a promotional event for the launch of many new lines of equipment.

Astronaut Randy Bresnik (available for media before or during the event) will address the audience Tuesday, April 17 at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon relating the similarities between snow operations at airports and space flight. He will speak about his experiences in space and the value of establishing a training plan, conducting rehearsals and building contingencies into airport operations. A U.S. Marine, Colonel Randy Bresnik, was a crewmember aboard STS-129 (Nov. 16-29, 2009), which was the 31st shuttle flight to the International Space Station. During the mission the crew delivered two Express Logistics Carriers to the International Space Station, about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts for systems that provide power to the station, keep it from overheating, and maintain proper orientation in space.

Bresnik performed two space walks for a total of 11 hours and 50 minutes. While he was in orbit, his wife Rebecca gave birth to their daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik Nov. 21. The STS-129 mission was completed in 10 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes and 13 seconds, traveling 4.5 million miles in 171 orbits, and returned to Earth bringing back NASA Astronaut, Nicole Stott, following her tour of duty aboard the Space Station.

Colonel Bresnik is an F/A-18 fighter pilot and has logged over 5,000 hours in 80 types of aircraft. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot Rating and an Unlimited Piston Engine Letter of Authorization.

This marks the 27th consecutive year the symposium is being hosted by the BNIA. Thomas Dames, the BNIA's airfield superintendent and symposium chairman said, "The snow symposium committee is grateful for all the wonderful work the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the area hotels, and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority do to help make the event so successful. The hospitality the region offers makes it easy to find a solution that will benefit the Symposium and the region."

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "Bringing experts from the Snow Belt regions together helps the industry advance its best practices and collective knowledge so everybody benefits." Minkel will address the conference's opening session Monday, April 16 at 8:30 a.m.

One of the symposium's main events is the presentation of the Balchen/Post Awards, which are given to airport snow-control teams that have demonstrated determination and excellence in keeping their respective airport runways open and safe during winter storms. Presentations are scheduled for Wednesday, April 18 as part of the 12:30 p.m. luncheon.

Thomas Dames can be reached at 716-512-0564 during the event to address media inquiries. Additional information, including the program can be found at www.snowsymposium.org. The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives organizes the event.

File photos of Colonel Bresnik and his space walk can be downloaded at www.nfta.com/Bresnik/

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Buffalo, NY:The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that a $1.4 million Airport Improvement Project, involving construction to the two-tier circulatory roadway system at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is scheduled to start Tuesday, April 10.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "These structural improvements are an investment that ensures the successful operation of the terminal's infrastructure for many years to come and provides for the safety of our customers."

Work on the departures roadway (upper level) will consist of milling the deck surface, joint repairs, curb replacements, paving, striping and sidewalk repairs. Traffic will be reduced to one lane for the duration of the project.

The arrivals roadway (lower level) work consists of having steel reinforcement beams installed to the upper deck, roadway milling and overlay improvements, in addition to repairing structural columns and concrete. During construction, traffic will be restricted to one lane from 1 to 8 a.m. each weekday.

To assist passengers using the terminal there will be variable message signs in place to direct traffic into the proper lanes for both levels of roadway.

To lessen traffic on the terminal's roadways, people coming to the airport to pick up arriving passengers are advised to use the Cell Phone Lot on Holtz Drive, where they can wait in their car for a cell call notifying them their passenger has their luggage and is ready to be picked up.

In addition, use of the airport's radio system is advised for people heading to the BNIA. Construction and parking updates will be available by tuning the car radio to 1580 AM. The signal is best within three miles of the airport. The airport's website buffaloairport.com will also be used to communicate timely information as necessary.

Passengers are advised to allow themselves additional time when using the airport during the construction period. The recommended time to arrive in the terminal for a departing flight is 90 minutes prior to departure.

The project is scheduled to be completed in August.

 

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Buffalo, NY:The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that they have reached a licensing agreement with Funtime After Dark, LLC, to be the NFTA's waterfront concert promoter for the 2012 summer season.

NFTA Commissioner Howard A. Zemsky said, "We are excited about this opportunity to increase public access to the waterfront, and the selection of a designated promoter will free up staff time, allowing them to fully focus on our core mission of serving the transportation needs of our customers."

Chris Ring, a Funtime partner said, "It's always exciting to bring great concerts to Buffalo, but what's even more special is the fact that we get to be a part of the bigger picture, which is to get more people downtown and enjoy the beautiful Buffalo waterfront. We hope that these concerts will help do just that."

Peter G. Demakos, NFTA commissioner and chairman of the authority's Property Risk Committee said, "We are pleased to have come to an agreement with experienced promoters who will provide top notch entertainment for people to enjoy at one of the best venues in our community."

Funtime plans on using the seven acre site located on the outer harbor in the vicinity of the former Pier Restaurant, to hold concerts from a variety of musical genres including alternative, Canadian, southern and folk rock. Ticket prices will be range from $30 pre-sale to $100 for a VIP ticket. Parking charges will range from $5 to $10.

The agreement allows Funtime After Dark, LLC, (Chris Ring, Artie Kwitchoff and Donnie Kutzbach) to hold up to four concerts this summer at the outer harbor, with the possibility of conducting added concerts. In addition to the $20,000 licensing fee, the NFTA will receive 20 percent of all parking revenues, approve in advance the promoter's security/safety plan and receive an additional security deposit to ensure a thorough clean up of the site following each performance.

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