Ceretto Concerned About Plan to Divert Trucks From Peace Bridge to Lewiston-Queenston Bridge
Sends letter to General Services Administration asking for assurance that plan is dead.
Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston) said he is deeply concerned regarding revelations of a plan hatched by the federal government to divert trucks going into Canada from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. Though discussions of the plan have been suspended, Ceretto wants to know and plans to find out how the federal government could have been planning this traffic diversion without the knowledge of any state or local officials, and Ceretto has written to the General Services Administration (GSA) asking for assurances for local officials that the GSA's plan is off the table.
"It's amazing that the federal government could have been conceiving a plan like this right after we finally came to an agreement to make vital improvements to the Peace Bridge," stated Ceretto. "As a state, we have addressed this issue with the Canadian authorities, and we do not need this to be complicated again. Further, this is a very bad plan for the residents of Lewiston, Grand Island, Niagara Falls, and the town of Niagara. The towns do not have the necessary infrastructure to handle the increased traffic that would result from more trucks on I-190."
Following a directive by President Obama to solve environmental issues in low-income areas, the federal Office of General Services began looking into a plan to divert trucks going across the border from the Peace Bridge to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. A neighborhood near the Peace Bridge has higher-than-normal asthma rates, it is suspected, due to the heavy truck traffic on the bridge. However, this was taken into account in the agreement reached last year by the addition of a pre-inspection facility that should reduce congestion. Ceretto will oppose any agreement that brings traffic from Buffalo, which has the necessary infrastructure, to the Niagara Falls area, which does not.
"After almost two decades of fighting over what to do about the Peace Bridge, we were able to hammer out a bipartisan agreement to make improvements to it. Now we must get moving and break ground on these critical improvements. Now is not the time to tinker with an agreement that was 20 years in the making, especially if it would divert traffic through Lewiston, Grand Island, Niagara Falls, and the town of Niagara," Ceretto said.
Ceretto's letter to the General Services Administration asks for an explanation as to why state and local officials were left in the dark about these talks, and outlines the objections that his constituents have to the plan. These objections include the lack of infrastructure in Grand Island and Lewiston to handle increased traffic and the loss of sales tax revenues to Niagara County due to increased traffic on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Feb 04, 2014