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Local leaders tout the benefits of public transportation

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Ahead of the ninth annual National Dump the Pump Day Thursday, regional leaders are encouraging residents to ride public transportation. NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel says Metro Bus and Rail play a vital role in helping reduce harmful emissions by reducing the number of cars on the road.  According to a recent transit industry report, a two-person household can save more than $10,000 annually by downsizing to one car.

"It helps minimize traffic congestion. Every full bus that we have out there takes 38 cars off the street and every full rail car means 125 fewer cars," Minkel said at a Monday morning news conference on the steps of Buffalo City Hall.

Minkel says last year alone, the 26 million rides the NFTA provided reduced the region's carbon dioxide emissions by a half-billion pounds.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says riders save money, which is good for the economy, and he says public transit helps the environment. He says the city is seeing tremendous development along Metro Rail.

"Developers are realizing that with all of the growth at the Medical Campus and all of the growth downtown and the growth at the University at Buffalo, it is a really good place to invest," Brown said.

Free newspapers will be available for Metro riders the morning of  National Dump the Pump Day on June 19.