Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, after a meeting Monday with Gov. Cuomo and Western New York lawmakers, is supporting the governor in his dispute with the Canadian authorities over improvements to the Peace Bridge. The governor and lawmakers will move to dissolve the Buffalo Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority if an agreement cannot be reached. This way, New York can move forward with an economic development plan on the American side of the Peace Bridge.
"We need to do what is right for Western New York and our economy," Ceretto said. "The improvements that are currently being held up by the Buffalo Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority are long overdue and we need to get moving on them. If we cannot come to an agreement with the Canadian authorities on these improvements, then we need to dissolve our relationship with them on the Bridge Authority and move unilaterally to make the improvements that are needed."
The dispute between Cuomo and the Canadian authorities centers around improvements that need to be made on both the American and Canadian sides of the Peace Bridge. On the American side, the aging bridge needs to be re-decked, and a pre-inspection facility needs to be built in Fort Erie in order to ease truck congestion. Ceretto's camp said the Canadians are adamant that improvements cannot be made on the American side until improvements on the Canadian side are made first. This has resulted in a stalemate in negotiations that has forced the governor to move to dissolve the Bridge Authority so that improvements on the American side can move forward.
"Ultimately, I hope that the two sides can come to an agreement so we can continue what has been a good partnership up to this point," Ceretto said. "However, if the Canadians continue to be unyielding in their demands, then we have no choice but to move forward on our own."