Local
8:41 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Higgins wants Peace Bridge pilot program made permanent

After years of effort, American Customs and Immigration officers may soon be working on the Canadian end of the Peace Bridge.
           
The Canadian end of the bridge is far larger and far more modern than the U.S. end and shifting Customs and Immigration to Fort Erie has been pushed for years with Washington saying, "No."

Now, Washington is saying, "Let's give it a try," along with a similar 18-month test in Washington State.

Congressman Brian Higgins says the test would also help in designing the Buffalo plaza by seeing what needs to be done today and tomorrow.

He does say the change should be permanent although would require congressional approval.

"It's good for the economy. It's good for transportation purposes. And, it's also very good for the environment in air quality," Higgins said.

"It's idling diesel engines that are stuck on the bridge and stuck on the plaza that triggers asthma in kids. That's why kids in the west side are disproportionately stuck with asthma because it's nitrogen oxide. It's particulate matter. It's sulfur that is emitted from idling diesel engines."

The State Environmental Conservation Department is currently running air tests at the bridge to see how bad the air quality is when it arrives at the bridge and how bad it is after passing over the bridge and its trucks.