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Niagara Falls International Airport Welcomes One Millionth Passenger

The Niagara Falls International Airport welcomed its one millionth passenger this morning. Bill and Anna Egbert of Summerfield, FL. arrived courtesy of Allegiant, on a flight from Sanford, FL.

Technically, the Egberts are ‘one million’ and ‘one million and one.’ They accepted the honor as a couple and received round trip tickets for a future flight thank to Allegiant, luggage from the airport and a Niagara-themed gift basket complements of the Niagara Tourist & Convention Corp. The basket includes a stay at The Giacomo Hotel, a $50 Hard Rock CafĂ© certificate, a bottle of wine from the Flight of Five Winery, a gift certificate to Encounter Niagara, treats from DiCamillo’s Bakery and a matted photograph print of Niagara Falls, USA.

Vice Chairman Henry M. Sloma was on hand to officially recognize the one millionth passenger, particularly fitting because he was passenger number one out of the terminal in December, 2009.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, “The NFTA made a $42.5 million investment in 2008 to construct a new state-of-the-art terminal that would be efficient, user-friendly and ready to meet the sophisticated needs of 21st century aviation. It has become an engine for growth and development with a yearly economic impact of $200 million.”

William R. Vanecek, NFTA Director of Aviation said, “The airport continues to mature and has become a valued regional asset as a direct result of our dedicated workforce that keeps the airport running professionally and efficiently. Further, by working closely with our airline partners we continually discuss opportunities to add flights and new destinations for our customers.”

In 2014 the NFIA surpassed the 100,000 enplanement mark for the first time and ultimately set a record with 105,273 passengers departing the facility. In total, 207,597 (outbound & inbound) passengers utilized the NFIA during 2014. This year the airport is on target to surpass the 2014 total having already served 87,571 departing passengers through August, a 17.5 percent increase year-to-date.

Allegiant and Spirit operate from the airport with service to warm weather destinations. Allegiant travels to Fort Lauderdale and Myrtle Beach, while Spirit connects to Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda/ Fort Myers and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

The airport’s four-gate facility provides for efficient, customer oriented passenger processing, a two level layout with jet bridge boarding, free Wi-Fi, food and beverage concessions, convenient on-site parking, a federal inspection station, in-line baggage screening, 12 stationary ticket counter stations, an ATM, tourist information counter, car rental and a Metro transit center, for convenient access to public transportation.

(Photo: Vice Chairman Henry M. Sloma, Executive Director Kimberley Minkel, Anna and Bill Egbert, Director of Aviation William Vanecek, Commission Margo Dawn Downey.)

New Cars on the Block

click for more photos
As of 1 p.m. January 23 automobiles are back on the 600 block of Main St. sharing the road with Metro Rail, reversing restrictions that began in 1979. The 700 block was revised in 2009, and construction on the 500 block is underway, continuing a push to return cars to all of Main St.

The 600 block of Main runs from Tupper to Chippewa and includes Shea’s Performing Arts Center and the Market Arcade. Access to businesses and buildings in this section has increased, but that is not the only improvement. The streetscape is fresh and more appealing. It continues the enhancements begun on the 700 block: trees, bike racks, maps, signage, upgraded streetlights.

Metro Rail has taken the opportunity to make some improvements of its own. As NFTA Executive Director Kimberley A. Minkel explained, “The numerous enhancements to the streetscape will complement the $6.65 million investment made by the NFTA to install new track and new concrete panels to enhance our riders traveling experience.”

Work continues on the stretch between Chippewa and Mohawk streets. The city hopes to eventually see automobile traffic on all the way to Scott St.

Main Street Opening To Traffic 2015 - by Full Circle Studios

NFTA, the Gold Standard

NFTA Executive Director, Kimberley Minkel; TSA Federal Security Director, Brian Johansson; 
Chairman, Howard Zemsky; System Specialist, Terry Reinke; Transit PoliceChief, 
George Gast; HSEQ, Director, Timothy Carvana
The Transportation Security Administration has honored the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority with their highest rating: Gold Standard. It is the result of the TSA’s 2013 Baseline Assessments for Security Enhancement. Just five other transportation agencies received this award this year.

The BASE program establishes a security standard for individual system security initiatives and assess progress. It reviews systems based on security plans, security training, drills, public outreach efforts and background check programs. The overall goal is building a strong security program for the agency.

TSA Federal Security Director, Brian Johansson presented the award May 22, along with a letter from John S. Pistole, Administrator of the TSA, congratulating the Authority on its success. Pistole wrote, “The NFTA is to be commended for its commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires and for the agency’s continued dedication to ensure the security of travelers in the region.”

Johansson also stressed that this is not only an outstanding accomplishment by NFTA employees, but for the employees as well. “This process is not regulatory,” he said. “This is voluntary in nature. We have experts that have ideas, suggestions and best practices, but in no way shape or form is this a requirement. This level of achievement goes a long way of showing what a great partnership the federal government has with the NFTA.”

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, “I am extremely proud of our dedicated team who work each day to ensure our Metro transit system and facilities are safe and secure for our customers and employees. This honor recognizes and validates the extent of their collective efforts.”

Where's My Bus?

Metro Bus and Rail has a new tool for finding out when the next bus will be arriving at your stop.  These ads pretty much explain it all.  Click one for TV, the other for radio.

On the Waterfront

Feb. 27 2014, the NFTA Board of Commissioners authorized the sale of approximately 354 acres of real property along the waterfront known as the NFTA Boat Harbor, Gallagher Beach and the outer harbor to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.  The agreement calls for the NFTA to operate the boat harbor and Gallagher Beach for the 2014 summer season.

Under the proposal, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation will acquire the land from the NFTA to plan for future development and use, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will operate half of the property, encompassing the NFTA Boat Harbor and Gallagher Beach, as a new state park. As part of the agreement the NFTA will continue to operate the boat harbor through the 2014 season.

What's the NFTA?

The easiest way to explain the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is to break the name down into its component parts.

The authority in this case refers to a public benefit corporation set up by New York State in 1967 not to serve stockholders or investors but solely for the good of a community. This community is the Niagara Frontier, the Western-most section of New York State. It includes cities such as Lockport, Lackawanna, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and a large number of towns and villages.

The cleanest way to commute

Metro Rail is, pretty much, the most environmentally friendly way there is to get around Buffalo. In honor of that fact, four local photographers have supplied us with examples of exactly what clean air and water means to Western New York.

Terry Cervi
Kristen Kroess
Daniel Novak
Tom Wolf

Metro Rail travels through the heart of downtown Buffalo, from the University at Buffalo South Campus to First Niagara Center without ever pumping even a gram of carbon into the air. In fact, Metro Rail doesn’t put out any emissions, because it is completely electric. Yes, there are some electric cars on the road - and they are very friendly to the environment - but Metro averages around 25-percent of its power from renewable sources, like Niagara Falls. Even our clean electric power is cleaner than most. Of course, you could walk to work. That wouldn’t put out any emissions either. But if you really want to stay clean you’re better off inside one of our safe, comfortable, temperature–controlled rail cars.