Says Buffalo’s Major Border Crossing Deserves Consideration
Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) called for a new look at funding for the expansion and rehabilitation of Buffalo’s Peace Bridge by seeking out Homeland Security dollars for the long-delayed expansion project. Higgins sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, asking for him to support efforts to stream specific aid to capital improvements as well as staffing necessities for the Peace Bridge. Higgins also invited Secretary Chertoff to join him on a tour of the Peace Bridge.
Buffalo’s Peace Bridge, the second-busiest northern border crossing in the nation, has undergone exhaustive review for an expansion project, with some proposals calling for a twinning of the current span while others call for the construction of an entirely new span. Higgins’ proposal doesn’t speak to the type of bridge to be built, but seeks to increase federal funding for infrastructure development at this potential terrorist target.
“The fact remains that the Peace Bridge is the second-largest northern border crossing in the nation, and that fact in and of itself makes the Peace Bridge both a target for terror attacks as well as a potential conduit for terrorists to other targets,” said Higgins, who sits on a House Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security and Emerging Threats. “With our status on an international border, with a significant northern international crossing, and as a region where a terrorist sleeper cell was situated, I think a very strong case can be made to appropriate Homeland Security dollars for capital improvements to the Peace Bridge,” Higgins added.
Higgins also pointed to the continued disparity plaguing states like New York in the allocation of Homeland Security funding, noting that on a per capita basis, the state of Wyoming receives more than $35 per capita, while high-target states like New York continue to receive about $5 per capita. Higgins says that Senate reform of Homeland Security formulas is a good first step, but that a complete overhaul of both the funding formulas themselves as well as the method by which the funding reached first responders needs to be a priority in the 109th Congress.
“I sincerely hope that Secretary Chertoff will take my request into strong consideration, and that the safety and security of my constituents, and all those who travel into and live in Western New York, is not further compromised,” said Higgins.