State Legislature Approves Bill to Dissolve Peace Bridge Authority

June 12, 2013 Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM EDT

By John Borsa

...
June 12, 2013 Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - "I think this is a road to disaster," said Assemblyman Robin Schimminger on the Assembly floor Wednesday moments before lawmakers voted to dissolve the Peace Bridge Authority.

"This legislation will have devastating impacts on the operation of the bridge, the ability of the authority to make improvements," Schimminger said.

Those improvements Include plans to expand the travel plaza on the U.S. side of the border.

But during a trip to Buffalo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear. He is finished waiting for the 10-member bridge authority, accusing its five Canadian members of foot-dragging.

"We've been talking about doing things on the Peace Bridge forever. It just never happens," said Cuomo.

"It's been going on for 20 years," he added. "Let's be honest. Could you now slow the progress? No. Because you're not making any progress."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo, who sponsored the bill, said the authority has failed West Side residents, many of whom suffer from health problems from car and truck exhaust.

"We have to hope that cars and trucks will cross through that border crossing in a quick and efficient manner, that trade can take place faster, but most of all so the children of the west side of Buffalo no longer have to suffer asthma and respiratory diseases," Ryan said.

The Senate passed the bill late Wednesday afternoon.

The general manager of the Peace Bridge Authority, a Canadian, said dissolving the authority would halt a number of construction projects including a massive re-decking project that is coming up.