Council wants probe into secret Peace Bridge meetings

Feb 5, 2014

Common Council members are upset about back room federal meetings on environmental effects of the Peace Bridge and proposals to move truck traffic to Lewiston.

There are two separate series of secret meetings that bother council members. One is the possible shift of trucks to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. That's apparently without any input from Canada, at the other end of both bridges.

Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The other is a probe which was shut down while looking into the possibility that there were environmental justice issues in expanding a bridge that appears to contribute to air pollution and asthma issues on the city's West Side.

Council members want a series of meetings to find out what is going on and some don't want Albany to go ahead with construction projects at the bridge without some local approval. Albany is pushing to build new connecting ramps between the bridge and the Thruway's Niagara section.

Ordinarily a supporter of Governor Cuomo on bridge issues, Councilman David Rivera says there needs to be airing of what happened.

"I am really concerned about discussions that were had privately dealing with issues that affect us here locally. I think all levels of government, except the federal level of government were excluded from these discussions that deal directly with environmental issues that we're working on, here on the city's West Side," Rivera said.

Councilmember Joe Golombek read to other members during a meeting yesterday a letter he wrote to the White House calling for an investigation of what happened and whether the continuing truck traffic is illegally contributing to health problems in an area with a very high asthma rate.