Congressman Higgins Meets with U.S. Secretary of Transportation to Discuss Peace Bridge
On Wednesday, March 30 Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees, met with United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to discuss the Peace Bridge project in Western New York.
Congressman Higgins released the following statement detailing the meeting:
“Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit with Transportation Secretary LaHood and share with him directly how critically important the Peace Bridge is to integrating Western New York’s economy with booming Southern Ontario, relaying the essential link this project provides to jobs and growth at our educational, cultural, sports, airports, medical and retail destinations.
“There is a new level of commitment from the federal government never before seen on the Peace Bridge project. Secretary LaHood, his staff and the Administration are informed and engaged with a clear understanding of how important this project is for Western New York and the entire nation.
“Several recent developments are further propelling this project on a promising pace. First we have clarity. Uncertainty over the prospect of Shared Border Management has led to confusion and delays. In February Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed that preclearance is dead, definitively asserting, ‘We cannot do it,’ this resolution allows us to move forward.
"Second, for the first time ever, substantial funding for land ports of entry has been included in the President budget. The 2012 budget includes $2.2 billion to support significant improvements to facilities which link directly to the transportation infrastructure at border crossing locations, and the Administration has confirmed the Peace Bridge is on their list of priorities.
“And third we have closure that gets us to construction. After years of studies, debate and designs the issuance of the Record of Decision is expected this year, giving the federal government’s final green light on the project, a step that will lead to long-awaited shovels in the ground.
“Like the waterfront, the tolls, the power authority, FEMA flood maps, Bethlehem Steel compensation and dozens of other obstacles, people have told us the Peace Bridge can’t be done, at least not in our lifetime. I am here to say that Western New York is worth the fight, and for every nudge backward we will find a way to leap forward with a sustained focus and a constant goal of building a better economy and quality of life for the community we all love.”