Developers of a proposed inter national truck inspection center for Buffalo's waterfront detailed their project before the NFTA to day, promising a facility that would blend with waterfront de velopment and enhance the city's role in U.S.-Canadian trade.
Frank J. McGuire and Frank P. D'Arrigo unveiled plans for their proposed $13 million facility adja cent to the Port of Buffalo during a morning briefing session.
The two are hoping to secure a lease from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to build a facility that will serve the more than 770,000 trucks crossing the Peace Bridge each year.
"I'm experienced in these things, and I'm watching profit margins erode because of ineffi ciencies (in current inspection methods)," said D'Arrigo, presi dent of Can Am Trucking. "This project has been under study for the last two years, and I think it's pretty well recognized it is one that will benefit the entire Niagara Frontier."
While some critics have labeled the project inappropriate for the waterfront and too far away from the Peace Bridge, McGuire and D'Arrigo took pains today to counteract the objections. McGuire noted that the build ing to be constructed just north of the current port terminal would be located away from the water and will be landscaped. He also ex plained that the plans are consistent with waterfront plans desig nating the area as an industrial park.
And D'Arrigo detailed plans for a $1 million electronic tracking system that he said would guaran tee the U.S. Customs Service com plete control over vehicles as they left the Peace Bridge and traveled over the Niagara Thruway and Skyway to the waterfront site. "Under our project, a signifi cant level of security will be pro vided for customs," he said. "In spectors will know by manifest what products will enter the in spection terminal before the truck actually crosses the bridge. Our project not only meets but exceeds (customs) requirements."
D'Arrigo also explained the bonding system that will allow customs inspectors to seal trucks on the Canadian side of the border to ensure that no cargo has been added or unloaded en route to the inspection station. That method has been in use for years for To ronto-bound trucks, he said. Both men touted the proposal as crucial to the city's anticipated role in handling increased amounts of U.S.-Canadian trade. They said it carries several advan tages, including relieving conges tion on the Peace Bridge, provid ing proper security, and access to major roads. D'Arrigo said the plan also would be implemented without public funding and includes land for expansion. He added that the facility has access to rail facilities, pointing out the site's potential to grow in to an important transshipment and distribution center.
NFTA Executive Director Al fred H. Savage supports the concept, pointing out that significant revenue could be expected from the resulting leases. He explained that developers throughout the area were invited to submit pro posals for developing the NFTA's waterfront land, with the board voting to enter into discussions with McGuire and D'Arrigo. The plan is competing with a similar facility proposed by the fa ther-and-son team of Peter and Robert Elia for land they own near the Peace Bridge. McGuire said he expects that the General Services Administra tion's regional headquarters in New York will make a decision within the next few months on which site should be selected. In other business, commission ers were asked to consider a plan that would establish a picture pass system for Buffalo public school students riding Metro Bus and Metro Rail. John Pero, cash manager for the authority, explained that pas ses with photos would save the NFTA a significant amount of revenue, since the current passes without photos are often loaned to non-paying students.
"About 20 percent of the passes are reported 'lost' by the stu dents," he said. "The majority of those are not lost, but are given to non-eligible students by eligible students." The photo pass program would cost about $75,000, he said, with the Board of Education asking the authority to assume half that cost.