One of the assembly sponsors of the measure says Buffalo has dealt with nothing but disappointment over the last 20 years when it comes to the Peace Bridge. Now, a bill approved in Albany last week gives the authority a year to get its act together or be dissolved for good.
"For more than 20 years we've been promised a superspan, we've been promised a twin span, and we've had nothing," says Assemblyman Sean Ryan. "If the authority does not work together, come July 15th it will be dissolved."
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In fact, Ryan says all you have to do is take a trip across the Peace Bridge to see the difference. "In Fort Erie, it's beautiful, you go to Buffalo it looks like a bad toll plaza from 1955, you don't know where to go," explains Ryan.
If the current authority is disbanded, Ryan says he'd like to see a new authority structure based on the Alexandria Bay/Thousand Islands area, where Canadian appointees make decision on the Canadian side, and US appointees handle US concerns.
"I don't think the Fort Erie appointees feel comfortable about making decisions for Buffalo, and I don't think Buffalo doesn't want to decide for the Canadian side," says Ryan.
A Canadian Perspective....
Peace Bridge Authority Chairman Anthony Annunziata is a Canadian and he disputes the idea that his side of the board doesn't want and hasn't supported development at the bridge .
"As a board we have always been working to improve the US Plaza, even historically before my term on the board and I go back to 1999," he says.
He points to $50 million in plaza improvements, a $100 million bridge redecking project pending, and the pilot project that would move US Customs pre-clearance to the Canadian side of the border.
"I still think the authority is going to exist until 2020, but the key to all of this is it will prevent us from remarketing our bonds in 2014"