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Group seeking removal of Island toll barriers to hold public forum

A public forum will be hosted by the newly formed WNY for Grand Island Toll Barrier Removal group at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Global Tourism Institute at 225 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls.

The group launched a new effort earlier this month to put pressure on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to remove the 90-year-old toll barriers on the Grand Island bridges that can back up traffic for miles, especially during rush hour and tourist season, making the trip between Buffalo and Niagara Falls a grueling stop-and-go experience.

State Sen. Christopher Jacobs, R-Buffalo, has proposed replacing the toll booths with an automated, cashless tolling system to reduce traffic backups and pollution. Others, such as Grand Island Supervisor Nathan McMurray, have called that a good first step, but ultimately want to eliminate the tolls.

Forum co-chairs Brian R. Michel and Patrick Whalen, director of the Global Tourism Institute, will present the latest progress on an i-petition, which has over 900 signatures. There will also be open microphone sessions for members of the public and local civic leaders and business owners.

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