Lawmakers should support sensible Peace Bridge project
For two decades, scientists and economists have made every reasonable attempt to dispel the fallacy of a Peace Bridge plaza expansion and educate local, state and federal officials such efforts represent a zero-sum game. To date, only Buffalo Council Members David Rivera and Joseph Golombek are willing to publicly take the side of logic and applied science.
Expanding the customs plaza and building a larger duty-free store inside a residential neighborhood will have a negligible economic impact, but it will cause irreparable harm to the health of nearby residents. Medical studies show why neighborhoods downwind of the customs plaza remain defenseless from chronic exposure to diesel emission. The toxic fumes are carried into the community by southwesterly winds that blow off of Lake Erie. Officials realize this is a geographic occurrence that cannot be mitigated regardless of which side of the bridge trucks are cleared. They all cross over the same body of water.
The Peace Bridge Authority and government agencies have had 25 years to relocate and pay for an environmentally safer international crossing capable of moving freight by rail, air and water. But they’ve done nothing. Instead they unashamedly continue to support an expansion that will increase truck traffic, increase diesel emission and thus increase human exposure to lung disease, cancer and neurological disorders – conditions no other community would tolerate. By supporting the right project in the right place, Reps. Brian Higgins and Chris Collins could champion a world-class international crossing that doesn’t pit transportation against public health.