Sends letter to General Services Administration asking for assurance plan is off the table
Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, said he is deeply concerned about the revelations of a plan 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 how the federal government could have been planning this traffic diversion without the knowledge of any state or local officials, and has written to the General Services Administration asking for assurances for local officials that the GSA's plan is off the table.
"Its 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. As a state, we have addressed this issue with the Canadian authorities, and we do not need this to be complicated again," Ceretto said. "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 Barack 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. This is because a neighborhood near the Peace Bridge has higher-than-normal asthma rates due to the traffic on the bridge.
However, this was taken into account in the agreement reached last year with 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.
"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," Ceretto said. 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'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 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.