FORT ERIE, Ont. – Peace has returned to the Peace Bridge.
After more than six months of international dispute over the pace of development on the U.S. side of the span, the Peace Bridge Authority conducted its first friendly meeting in six months today following an agreement signed Wednesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer.
“Good meeting,” Chairman Anthony M. Annunziata declared at the end of a routine session that featured none of the rancor of recent months. The five members from New York and five from Ontario then approved the first phase of a $13 million project to widen the Buffalo approach to the bridge and a resolution ratifying the new pact between Albany and Ottawa.
“I am hopeful and optimistic that we will truly move forward,” said Sam Hoyt, vice chairman of the authority and Cuomo’s chief representative. “We will work together...to make sure any differences of opinion can be resolved quickly and amicably.”
Since late 2012, the New York and Canadian delegations to the authority have been warring over Cuomo’s claims that development on the Buffalo plaza lagged far behind Canada. After two months of open dispute, Cuomo and Doer announced a pact that preserved several already-approved projects related to the bridge and also approved a new Buffalo traffic study expected to expedite development on the U.S. plaza.
“The state and Canada are now able to see commonality,” Annunziata said. “Alignment with the authority is now there.”