Ontario truckers decry New York legislation to dissolve Peace Bridge Authority
June 12, 2013
TORONTO, Ont. -- The internal turmoil between U.S. and Canadian board members of the Peace Bridge Authority has taken on new heights that could jeopardize much-needed infrastructure improvements at the second busiest border crossing...
TORONTO, Ont. — The internal turmoil between U.S. and Canadian board members of the Peace Bridge Authority has taken on new heights that could jeopardize much-needed infrastructure improvements at the second busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada, according to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).
The OTA is decrying a Bill currently before the New York State Legislature, which if passed would dissolve the Peace Bridge Authority, putting the brakes on already approved infrastructure upgrades creating the potential for serious bottlenecks and service disruptions. The Bill (A7367 (Ryan)) was passed by the New York House of Assembly today (June 11) and is now before the state senate (Bill S5191(Grisanti)). It could be passed as early as tomorrow.
The Peace Bridge’s ability to fund these projects comes from the selling of bonds. In 2012 the Peace Bridge Authority’s board approved a $50 million capital plan to improve the U.S. plaza that includes a new customs commercial building, the widening of approach lanes and improved access to I-190.. Passage of this legislation would seriously jeopardize the ability to move forward with these and other projects including a bridge re-decking project. Dissolution of the Peace Bridge Authority would force the pay-back of any outstanding bonds and would eliminate the funding needed to move forward with projects important to alleviating congestion and improving customs clearance processes.
The Buffalo-Niagara Peace Bridge serves as a major crossing for commercial vehicles and is one of North America’s busiest portals for international travel and trade, generating $40 billion in trade every year. In 2012, nearly 1.3 million trucks crossed the Peace Bridge, which was constructed in 1927 to recognize over 100 years of peace and prosperity between the U.S. and Canada.
“Dissolving the Peace Bridge Authority seems to be an extreme way of resolving differences,” says David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association. ”Did anyone tell these people the War of 1812 is over?”
“New York has as much to lose in this as Ontario and Canada,” he said. “We can only hope that cooler heads prevail and the Peace Bridge board of directors resolve their differences and get back to doing their job.”
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