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Schumer Unveils Design Of New Canadian Gateway Plaza At The Peace Bridge First Step To Moving US Toll Facilities To Canada

Schumer: More inspections booths will ease traffic flow on Peace Bridge; Moving tolls to Canadian plaza should be the first step in a broader shared border management plan at the Peace Bridge

Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello; PBA Chairman John Lopinski; Canadian MP John Maloney; Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop join Schumer

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today joined US and Canadian officials in Fort Erie, Ontario to unveil the design of the Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority's (PBA's) new Canadian Gateway. The announcement is the first step in a plan to move toll operations from the US to the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge. Schumer said that the move, which should begin as early as May 2004, would allow for more Customs inspection booths on the US side to ease traffic while reducing the amount of infrastructure on the US plaza.

"This is the first step but it's a big one. Today we're beginning the march toward a shared border arrangement, and we're taking the first step toward a signature Peace Bridge crossing that will move people and commerce more efficiently," Schumer said. "Anything we can do to cut down on delays and create a gateway that is worthy of this important international crossing is a nobrainer."

The design selection is the result of a communitybased design competition in Fort Erie. A new PBA administration building will be built, and the Canadian plaza will be reconfigured to allow the toll facilities on the US side to be moved to Canada. Moving the toll booths will allow for additional US Customs inspection booths to be built, a move which will help reduce delays and ease the flow of traffic over the border.

Earlier this month, Schumer successfully lobbied Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Mary Peters to keep shared border management alive in the federal environmental review process. As a result of those efforts, and the efforts of local US and Canadian officials, the federal process will move ahead to the design phase for the bridge and plaza while shared border management is given further study.