The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority board declined Monday to kill a proposed waterfront truck inspection facility, even though Frank J. McGuire, a principal backer, announced he was withdrawing from the project.
Instead of rescinding a 1988 resolution authorizing the NFTA staff to negotiate a lease for the facility, the directors voted 5-4 to table the matter.
The call to rescind was returned to the board's Operations Committee for further study and a full report.
The same committee last week turned down the proposal because the plan appeared unlikely to win approval from the federal government.
Monday's action was criticized by Commissioner Ronald J. Anthony, who wanted the full board to go on record against the facility and any other such proposal for the waterfront. He accused the directors of "copping out" by tabling his request.
"Why don't we have the guts and determination to make a decision?" Anthony asked. "If this thing has any chance of nal is kept alive by NFTA board
rekindling, I want to kill it."
A source close to the NFTA board interpreted the vote as a rebuke to the outspoken Anthony for "grandstanding" on the issue, rather than an indication of support for the terminal.
McGuire, a Buffalo developer, announced Friday he was ending his involvement in the project but said he expected his partner, trucking executive Frank D'Arrigo, to continue to press for the terminal on NFTA property in Lakeside Industrial Park.
McGuire claimed his role in the proposed facility would have been used to "embarrass" Gov. Cuomo during his re-election campaign. McGuire is a leading Cuomo supporter in Western New York.
Last week, planners for the Horizons Waterfront Commission took a stand against the project, which would funnel trucks from the crowded Peace Bridge to the lakefront for U.S. Customs inspections. The commission said valuable waterfront property should not be "squandered" for activities "such as land-based truck terminals" that do not enhance the waterfront.
But the opposition from the commission staff and McGuire's retreat from the project don't mean "the concept is dead or that the proposal is dead," Anthony said, urging the board to rescind authorization to negotiate a lease. "Let's not waste staff time and the developer's time or worry the public any more."
In other action, the NFTA board approved a schedule for receiving $1 million in operating support from the city over the next six months as part of a transit bailout package assembled earlier this year.