War and Peace Bridge
We’re beginning to sound like a broken record, but this week was another record breaking one for Bridge Battle news. Let’s try something different, though (Please!). Instead of detailing all the repetitive and redundant items from the various media, we’ll attempt to gently touch on only a few of the many salient points, so we may all quickly be on our way to a better day; because, though the root issues are solidifying, this is far, far from over.
Conserve your strength. You’ll need it!
No Common Ground
Following is a very selective summary ofcoverage on a bill rammed through the New York State Legislature this week aimed at either dissolving the Public Bridge Authority or intimidating it into acquiescence to Governor Cuomo’s ‘unique’ vision of ‘progress’.
Assembly, State Senate vote overwhelmingly to dissolve Peace Bridge Authority
Assembly, Senate endorse end of binational panel
After a lively debate among our local assembly members before a chamber of inattentive colleagues, this bill passed easily(92-49).
And after a high speed ride through a somnambulant State Senate (61-0), the next step was taken in the battle to (depending on your perspective) reclaim by the state it’s rightful goods, or strip Canada it’s deserved share of governance.
It is necessary to note that, while Governor Andrew Cuomo has no comment on the legislation, it appears his DNA may be all over it.
Assemblyman Schimminger explaining his position
Another Voice: Approval of bill to dissolve authority is reckless
Schmimminger again in this op ed declaring:
The purpose of a bridge is to bring two sides together, but Wednesday’s vote by the State Senate and Assembly for legislation to dissolve the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority will have the reverse effect.
[This is] ill-conceived legislation that will likely dissolve the PBA and lead to chaos at the border, not progress.
Investigative Post: State Votes to dissolve Bridge Authority
In this video Investigative Post’s Jim Heaney shares his thoughts on the vote with WGRZ TV reporters.
Lack of peace at Public Bridge Authority
Go ahead, exercise your right.
“King Andrew” Sixty Years Too Late to Control New York / Canadian Border
The last word on this subject from noted environmental attorney Arthur J Giacalone, who in this Artvoice letter brands the bill to dissolve as “simplistic, poorly reasoned” and “flawed,” while characterizing Governor Cuomo as an imperious brute in his behavior toward Canada and the Public Bridge Authority.
Odd Men Out
Former Cuomo appointee to Peace Bridge speaks out
Noted Transportation logistics specialist Patrick Whalen issues his first public statement since ‘resigning’ from the bridge authority board. After reading his comments, one wonders, “Did he jump, or was he pushed?”
Here’s the important part
“Removing the trucks from the bridge and the Buffalo plaza is a vitally important opportunity for our community. Another way to do that would be to merge the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the PBA; then through tolls, encourage most trucks to use the Lewiston Queenston Bridge after making improvements to the Lewiston Plaza.”
This is unprecedented, indeed, as it is the first instance ever of an official partisanadvocating to move the trucks off the Peace Bridge.
Common Council Report
In this Artvoice report on the week’s Buffalo Common council meeting, the lone elected official to endorse moving the trucks speaks out:
North District Councilman Joseph Golombek, Jr. made an impassioned push to remove commercial truck traffic from the Peace Bridge and put a stop to the air-pollution assault on the surrounding neighborhood. Golombek told the Council that commercial truck traffic has contributed to neighborhood asthma and cancer rates that are a whopping four times higher than the national average.
“I think that’s the key issue here,” Golombek said at the meeting. “It’s not about the PBA, it’s not about the NFTA, it’s not about people yelling and screaming back and forth at one another about the plaza and everything. It’s about the health issues there.”
Golombek’s solution is to send commercial truck traffic to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, which he said is located in a much less populated area and is better suited for high-volume truck traffic.
Then Peace Bridge neighborhood council member David Rivera delivered a “fervent” speech himself, ignoring the placement of the trucks, but practically prostrating before the chamber, intoning:
“To do nothing is not part of the solution,” Rivera said, shaking his head and spreading his arms out wide. “People are dying of cancer. So what do we do? We have to come up with a solution. We can’t just hope that something happens.”
Rivera advised that his fellow councilmembers become informed before making any decisions, and recommended that they go to the scoping meeting at D’Youville College later that afternoon.
“All I ask is that you pay close attention,” Rivera said. “Go to these public meetings, inform yourself.”
Which leads us too…
Scope This Out!
Vamping a Revamp
Half-hearted effort to inform Peace Bridge neighbors
This past week’s “Public Scoping Meeting” to introduce what is clearly a ruse for illegally segmenting Peace Bridge plaza expansion–code named “NY Gateway Connections Improvement Project to the US Peace Bridge–obviously badly planned, poorly promoted, and hastily assembled by the NYS DOT and FHWA, proved, once again, one can never overestimate the shameless shoddiness of government on any level. Read the details in Dan Telvock’s Investigative Post report.
The Last Word
Tell it to the Judge
Peace Bridge Authority’s unity fell apart in December
We’ll dam he deluge of news with twojust-published articles, this one which establishes the differences of opinion between the two waring sides. And…
Can Cuomo really dissolve the Peace Bridge Authority?
This article, which implies either a protracted legal battle between a foreign nation and a sovereign state or a metamorphosis of Peace Bridge governance the nature of which remains to be seen.
Beyond that, the less said the better.
Watch and wait.