• Problems at the Border

    What Will Become of the Binational Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority?

    English: The Peace Bridge.

    English: The Peace Bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    In 1927, the construction of Peace Bridge was completed, thus establishing an accessible transportation route between Fort Erie and Buffalo over the Niagara River. For decades, the Public Bridge Authority (PBA), a 10-member board of equal Canadian and U.S. representatives, has governed the use of this route, providing a safer and more controlled means of border-crossing.

    Unfortunately, it seems that several American politicians no longer feel as if the Canadian members are pulling  their weight, having now acted to disband the PBA altogether. Two New York public figures, Senator Mark Grisanti and State Governor Andrew Cuomo, have adopted a similar point-of-view, requesting the removal of the PBA’s Canadian general manager because the board “is no longer a functioning body.”

    While these allegations are offensive to many, Fort Erie’s Mayor Doug Martin believes this situation to be both unnecessary and unproductive. Since the Peace Bridge is a competitive trading route, politicians should redirect their focus on protecting market shares and establishing a better flow of traffic. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is more than capable of regulating the bridge, meaning that this whole court process to remove the PBA is pointless.

    Despite all votes from the PBA being unanimous over the past year, some American board members still believe that the Canadians are slowing decisions down. Ironically, many see the opposite as the truth. For the last 25-years, board members have been wavering in their efforts to expand the bridge as a way to optimize traffic flow and establish commercial-vehicle pre-clearance operations. Without the Americans, many residents of Fort Erie and Niagara Region surmise that the new bridge would have already been built.

    The court proceeding to dismantle the PBA will be a lengthy, arduous process. Ideally, the objective of the legislature will change once the hearings begin, so that the PBA can begin to focus on bigger orders at hand.

     

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    Categories: Niagara Border Crossing

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