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Amtrak Station For Westfield Or Dunkirk Is A Greater Want Than Need

Amtrak’s decision to not place a train stop location in either Dunkirk or the town of Westfield is not surprising to this corner. Vince DeJoy, in a Dunkirk Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting, announced the disappointing news earlier this week.

“Right now, there’s not a path,” he said. Amtrak feels, “as they say in their letter, the gap is only 91 miles between (the closest stations in) Buffalo and Erie.”

Exactly.

And what is really the need for a transportation hub here? That is something that has never been discussed or surveyed by any entity or organization.

In a perfect world, a train stop would be here. But Chautauqua County is far from ideal for any mode of transportation. Consider the two airports – in Dunkirk and Jamestown. There is no essential air carrier for these locations due to our demographics. And, as far as we know, no air service wants to even attempt to come here.

As DeJoy noted, citizens here are already served by airports and train stations in Erie, with a population of 93,000 residents, and Buffalo, a metropolitan area of more than 940,000. Our county’s total population of 126,000 is not screaming for a stop though leaders think it is a magic bullet to more economic development.

All those years of essential air service in Jamestown did nothing to send our population higher in the last four decades. Now, we’re without any commercial service – and likely to be for years to come.

That’s really not an inconvenience. It is just a reality that residents here who want to travel – by whatever mode – are content to go elsewhere for better service.

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