Originally Published in the Buffalo News by Peter Joe Certo

State should merge bridge authorities

It took a judge two months to craft a decision supporting a decades-long assault on our health and heritage and reward the Peace Bridge Authority for its intentional blighting of a historic neighborhood (with tacit approval of state and local governments) – a decision issued practically in the dead of night so as to eliminate reaction. Now that the Busti Avenue properties are gone, can the adjacent seven-acre Episcopal Church Home Campus be far behind? Is this the end of the West Side as we know it?

Bridge Authority Chairman Sam Hoyt proclaims, “We’re going to send a message [that] you’re not entering a ghetto when you cross into the great City of Buffalo,” but fails to clarify it’s a “ghetto” of his own device.

Bridge Authority officials also blithely explain, “… it will landscape the … properties in the short term and then use the land for a possible future plaza expansion,” in clear violation of the prohibition on segmentation of plaza expansion. So what? The authority is above the law, above us all; that’s been demonstrated repeatedly.

If this project proceeds, Buffalo will hold the distinction as the only place in the modern world where a commercial crossing expands into a densely populated urban landscape. Why not just pave us over now, blanket us in duty-free and diesel, and be done with it?

Or do you want a progressive, sensible and sane alternative? The state’s independent SAGE Commission concludes merging our bridge authorities is a worthy idea, eliminating unnecessary repetition and petty competition. We have one waterfront; let’s have one vision for it as well. Merge the bridge authorities, and move the trucks off the Peace Bridge.

Peter Joe Certo