Merge bridge agencies and save neighborhood
If the Public Bridge Authority and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission were merged, there would be less of a need for an expanded plaza into the surrounding historic community and Front Park because both bridge authorities would then be one business instead of two, and the need to compete for the revenues that drive up volume from truck traffic would disappear. So would the need for another duty-free store, fast-food stations and gas pumps.
It seems prudent to hold off on any expansion until the state follows the recommendation of the SAGE Commission to study the potential merger of the two competing bridge authorities. It makes no sense for the state to allow demolition of historic buildings, spend $15 million for the Episcopal Church Home and the Department of Transportation to spend money on connecting roadways for something that might not be needed if the authorities were merged. If the state is looking to save money, this just might be the place to cut unnecessary spending. Why waste a neighborhood before we are sure we have to?
The commission should be commended for placing government efficiency above politics. These are lean economic times for Buffalo Niagara. We can no longer sustain quasi-governmental entities competing against one another that gobble up state and federal resources to expand their individual business models when that money could be better used elsewhere.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo must act now on the recommendation of his commission by calling for a joint task force comprised of state and federal officials and the Canadian government. For those of us who live in the shadow of the Peace Bridge, time is of the essence because it is a matter of life and breath.