Cuomo, Dyster want Toronto commuter trains to serve New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s administration, at the urging of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, is planning to lobby Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the coming weeks. The two men want badly to extend Toronto’s commuter train service to Niagara Falls, NY, where a new $42 million state-funded train station sits ready for use.

GO Transit expanded its regular service to the Niagara Region last month, but the commuter trains stop short the American border, only by a few hundred feet.

Urban planners have long advocated for GO Transit service on the American side of the border. If passengers were able to go through customs inspection at the Niagara Falls train station before boarding the train, supporters argue that American passenger volumes would skyrocket.

It’s less clear that the train service would help improve Niagara Falls residents’ access to employment opportunities across the border, given Canada’s strict enforcement of employment and immigration laws.

Some envision Niagara Falls’ train station as a park-and-ride hub that acts as Western New Yorkers’ gateway to Toronto. It’s unclear how many Torontonians would use the service to travel into New York, given the lack of transit connectivity at the station.

If Cuomo and Dyster are successful in securing the transit service ahead of City elections this fall, it would be a boon for the mayoral candidacy of Seth Picarrillo, a young urban planner and a longtime advocate of transit service to Toronto.

It could also serve as a crowning achievement of Dyster’s three terms, during which he advocated loudly for the train station project.

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