Keith Edmund White
Canada Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center
The Buffalo News reports that the Peace Bridge pre-inspection pilot program has been threatened by a growing discord between certain New York state officials and bridge’s Canadian board members.
The Peace Bridge pre-inspection pilot, a key aspect of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, promises to promote commercial trade and reduce pollution at the second-busiest border crossing between Canada and the United States.
While the controversy may be receding, these recent events show the value of and persistence needed to build on the significant economic and border security gains made by Canada and the United States through BTB.
A fully implemented pre-inspection program at the Peace Bridge promises to ease congestion at a critical crossborder site, a crossing that generates $40 billion in trade each year. Learn more about the pilot program here and by watching this July 2012 floor speech by Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY).
From the National Post:
The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority — commonly known as the Peace Bridge Authority — and the key international link it has administered since 1923 have been hailed as symbols of the enduring friendship between the U.S. and Canada after the War of 1812, the key battles of which were fought near the present site of the Niagara River bridge that connects Fort Erie, Ont., and Buffalo, N.Y.
But that peaceful coexistence has been strained within the PBA boardroom in recent months, with Canada’s five, federally-appointed members and the five U.S. representatives locked in a deepening conflict over a planned, multimillion-dollar upgrade to roads and facilities on American side of the bridge.
And from The Buffalo News:
A group of state lawmakers Tuesday offered an olive branch to Canadian Peace Bridge officials, urging them to keep on track a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’’ to begin a historic pilot project that allows U.S. customs agents onto Canadian soil to inspect American-bound cargo trucks.
The letter, signed by five area Democratic members of the Assembly and one Republican state senator, was sent to Peace Bridge Authority Chairman Anthony Annunziata, who has been involved in a war of words with Cuomo administration officials in recent weeks over everything from personnel matters to construction plans on the Buffalo side.
The pre-inspection program was approved by Washington and Ottawa as a pilot initiative to more quickly move traffic and reduce pollution levels in just two spots in North America: the Peace Bridge and a span between the State of Washington and British Columbia.
[NY Assemblyman Michael Kearns (D-Buffalo)] said the pre-inspection program will reduce idling of trucks on the Buffalo side, helping to reduce health problems, such as asthma, in nearby neighborhoods.
Kearns’ comment comes a couple weeks after three area state legislators – Assembly Democrat Sean Ryan and Republican Sens. Mark Grisanti and George Maziarz – floated a plan to dissolve the Peace Bridge Authority [thereby shifting bridge management to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, a New York public transportation authority].