Tug of War at Peace Bridge Authority

May 24, 2013 Updated May 24, 2013 at 11:31 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

May 24, 2013 Updated May 24, 2013 at 11:31 PM EDT


There is definite gridlock when it comes to getting infrastructure projects approved and completed by the Authority which is made up of 10 board members, five Canadian and five New Yorkers.

Each member is sticking with their country when it comes to voting on what the Authority should spend on.

At a board meeting Friday the Authority couldn't agree to approve the minutes of their last meeting let alone a $50 million U.S. plaza expansion project or a $100 million plan to re-deck the bridge, all agenda items defeated at the meeting.

U.S. officials are so frustrated they've sought legislation to dismantle the Authority before its compact expires July 1,2020.

That topic irritated one Canadian board member.

"There needs to be an understanding that when you're dealing with two sides of the border you can't operate in isolation on one side and do something on the other side it simply doesn't work that way," said Ron Reinas, a Canadian board member.

The Peace Bridge handles more than $40 billion in commerce between the U.S. and Canada each year, but perhaps more importantly nearly five million drivers cross it a year.

That's why Reinas says money should be used to ensure its safety and structure by moving forward with the re-decking project first.

"The choice is do you put the bridge at risk to do the $50 million capital plan on the U.S. side or do you take care of the bridge? That's the choice the board has to make," said Rienas.

U.S. leaders complain though that the American side of the border has been neglected for the past 20 years.

Board member Sam Hoyt demanded a ledger of how much money has been spent on capital expenditures and land purchases for the U.S. compared to Canada.

But unless the countries unite future projects will continue to be stalled.