BUFFALO (WKBW) It is one bridge, connecting two nations, with the potential for growing tensions as Governor Andrew Cuomo and his supporters want to play hardball to get a Peace Bridge Plaza built.
Last month the governor sent a letter to Canadian officials accusing them of holding up the process in building a new plaza on the American side of the Peace Bridge. That belief is now gaining more support.
"We've tried cajoling, we've tried asking. This has been going on for a long time and I think nerves are frayed and they should be. Enough is enough," Senator George Maziarz said.
Local political and business leaders sent 2 letters with 18 total signatures to the governor in support of his hard-line stance on the Peace Bridge expansion.
"Because the governor is absolutely right, the Peace Bridge has taken way too long. This has been going on for decades. We don't measure it in weeks, months, or years, but decades," Maziarz added.
At a news conference promoting international tourism, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had a tamer response to the potential for growing tensions.
"It's really important that we work together with Canada to come up with a plan that both countries are excited about and can make work. Our relationship with Canada is so important to the local economy but also they are great friends and allies, so I think we can figure this out," Gillibrand said.
Eyewitness News reached out to the chairman of the Peace Bridge Authority, the group Cuomo says should be dissolved, but did not get a response.
The Canadian Minister of Transport Denis Lebel took the diplomatic route, saying in a statement:
"Canadians know that Buffalo is the City of Good Neighbors and I am confident that this spirit of goodwill can continue to be demonstrated through international cooperation in the management of the Peace Bridge."
The plaza on the American side of the Peace Bridge is expected to cut down on wait times, and eliminate the problem of trucks idling on the bridge for a long period of time.