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Developers of a proposed international truck inspection center for Buffalo's waterfront detailed their project before the NFTA Wednesday, promising a facility that would blend with waterfront development 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 adjacent to the Port of Buffalo.

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 inefficiencies (in current inspection methods)," said D'Arrigo, president 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 Wednesday to counteract the objections.

McGuire noted that the building to be constructed just north of the current port terminal would be located away from the water and will be landscaped. He also explained that the plans are consistent with waterfront plans designating the area as an industrial park.

D'Arrigo detailed plans for a $1 million electronic tracking system that he said would guarantee the U.S. Customs Service complete 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 significant level of security will be provided for customs," he said. "Inspectors will know by manifest what products will enter the inspection 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 Toronto-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 advantages, including relieving congestion on the Peace Bridge, providing proper security, and access to major roads. D'Arrigo said the plan also would be implemented without public funding and includesland for expansion.

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