Building a New Peace Bridge Now is Good for Trade, Travel & Job Creation
BUFFALO, NY – Today, Western New York industry and building trade workers joined Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to support efforts to move now on construction of a new Peace Bridge and American plaza.
“For fifteen years this community has been talking about building a new Peace Bridge, the time for action is now,” said Congressman Higgins. “A new bridge is not only good for the economy and the environment, it will literally engage dozens of Western New York businesses and put thousands of ironworkers, cement masons, operating engineers and others in the construction field to work.”
Based on a Federal Highway Administration formula which converts project investment dollars into job creation numbers, construction of an American Peace Bridge plaza and surrounding infrastructure will create approximately 2688 construction jobs for US workers. Construction of the bridge itself will result in thousands of additional jobs for both US and Canadian construction workers. According to the Peace Bridge Environmental Impact Statement, total construction job counts are expected to reach approximately 4800.
"As I have stated recently, following the statements of Department of Homeland Secretary Chertoff that Shared Border Management is not a viable option for the forseeable future, we must now proceed with the building a new Peace Bridge and American plaza," said Mayor Brown. "By doing so, we can complete this critically important project, which will create construction-related jobs, provide an opportunity to invest in the surrounding community, and contribute to Buffalo's ongoing financial revitalization."
Representatives from the Fair Apportionment of Infrastructure Revenue (FAIR) Organization were on hand to show their support for immediate action on Peace Bridge construction. FAIR is a broad coalition of labor organizations, engineers, consultants, contractors, material producers, suppliers, truckers, financial institutions, and equipment dealers. FAIR is committed to the goal of safe roads, safe bridges and economic development for WNY.
“The Peace Bridge Project Expansion project began 20 years ago,” added Leonard DePrima, Chairman of the FAIR Organization. “It has been studied, evaluated, analyzed, re-studied, re-evaluated, and re-analyzed; most recently under the scrutiny of the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. It’s time to finish the studies and start construction. The greater good of our community and economy depend on it.”
Jim Willis, Business Agent for International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local #6 said, “Our members are ready to go to work. A project of this magnitude will not only result in a safe and solid structure built by skilled craftsmen, it will help build better lives for working families across the region.”
“The mission of Buffalo Building and Construction Trade workers is to work toward a common goal of building a future we can all be proud of,” said Paul Brown, President of the Buffalo Building Trades Council. “There is no greater symbol of Western New York’s future than a new Peace Bridge that can only serve to benefit this community economically creating more jobs, investments and construction in the years to come.”
What does Western New York gain by supporting Peace Bridge construction now?
· Thousands of Construction Jobs for Local Workers
Under the each of the three now defunct Shared Border Management Plan alternatives, the US would be responsible for construction work associated with the road network connecting to the bridge, while Canadian contractors would be responsible for the plaza, which would be located on the Canadian side of the bridge. Under the American plaza plan, supported by Congressman Higgins, up to $69 million in US taxpayer funded construction work, which would have gone to Canada, would shift to US contractors, adding thousands of new construction jobs here locally.
· Additional Lanes and Booths
When initially completed and opened to traffic on June 1, 1927 the Peace Bridge carried two 9 feet wide travel lanes in each direction. Increased traffic requirements in 1972 were served more efficiently by the installation of overhead lane controls and re-striping of the bridge deck to carry three 12 feet wide travel lanes. The new 4 lane bridge would more than double the existing number of traffic lanes. In addition, a new plaza would increase the number of booths from 18 to 24. All of which, will result in drastically reducing bridge wait times from the current average of 59 minutes to an estimated 14 minutes.
· Higher Load Capacity
Current New York State standards for new bridge construction require they be designed for HS-25 live loads, 25% higher than the existing Peace bridge’s HS-20 design standard. A new second bridge would be designed to carry the new HS-25 load, a feature vitally important because of heavy commercial traffic and international trade volume at the Peace Bridge