New plan for Peace Bridge Plaza causes controversy

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - A plan Congressman Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) says will cut wait times, enhance security and cut air pollution at the Peace Bridge, is coming under fire from local leaders.

Higgins, in a joint effort with Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence), announced they are jointly perusing between 25 and 50 million dollars in federal funding to help improve the American Peace Bridge Plaza.

"The current U.S. plaza is a disgrace and an embarrassment," said Higgins. "These improvements will establish a gateway to the United States which is open, orderly and attractive."

Higgins says the plan would reduce the average wait times in half, which would reduce emissions and improve air quality. The plan would also call for a roughly eight acre expansion of the current plaza, bringing it much closer to the surrounding neighborhood, and that has neighbors frustrated.

"Unfortunately I was not invited or made aware of the announcement of a plan that will significantly impact the neighborhood surrounding the U.S. Plaza that I represent as Niagara District Council member on the Buffalo Common Council.  I do not support any expansion of the Peace Bridge's U.S. Plaza," said Niagara District Councilmember David Rivera, who represents the neighborhood surrounding the bridge.

Rivera would like to see the green space that currently exists between the bridge and the neighborhood continue to serve as a buffer between the Plaza and the neighborhood and says he would like to see a public hearing for people to give their thoughts on the project.
 

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