Cross Border Commerce to Be Discussed in Roundtable Today
Niagara Falls, NY (WBEN) Representatives Kathy Hochul and Brian Higgins will join Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster today for a roundtable discussion on improving cross-border traffic.
Dyster says the biggest barrier is the border itself. "We need to strike a balance between keeping the border secure and keeping the bad guys out, and allowing good people to be able to cross," says Dyster. He recalls a time before 9/11 when he could go on his bike and cross the Rainbow Bridge and visit Canadian relatives with little hassle. "The guard would tell me to say hi to my aunt for him. That's the type of connection we need while keeping in safe," adds Dyster.
Dyster says there have been a number of projects at the border plazas that could also help, including at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. But the Peace Bridge plaza on the US side will be big, says the mayor. "I know there are a lot of historic buildings there, some can be moved. But the bridge itself is not at capacity right now, and this will be big in bringing traffic to capacity. The impact will be modest compared to improving the ability to cross the bridge," adds Dyster.
Dyster says there has been investment in Niagara Falls from Canadian hotel developers, especially in the city's LaSalle section. He says that's because the Canadian dollar is strong and real estate is cheap
Dyster adds Canadian tourists are the focus of complaints because they fly out of town from Niagara Falls International Airport, but Dyster says they eat at Falls restaurants and stay at hotels before and after the flights. The same could happen with high speed trains from New York to Toronto once the infrastructure is in place.