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December 23, 2002

ENRP Recommends a Full Examination of Tonawanda Site For New Peace Bridge

The Erie-Niagara Regional Partnership (ENRP) - an ad hoc subcommittee of the Niagara and Erie County Legislatures, together with the private sector, state and federal agencies - announced today that the proposed Tonawanda crossing should continue to be examined as a possible site for a new Peace Bridge.

"It would be premature to eliminate the proposed Tonawanda site," said ENRP Co-Chair and Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Barry Weinstein (R - Williamsville). "We are asking that this site be included in the full environmental impact statement so that we can better understand the options available to us."

The ENRP noted that new standards, implemented after September 11th, 2001, mean that more land would be needed to expand the plaza at the current location, resulting in the possible taking of a residential neighborhood or of Front Park. Furthermore, an increase of traffic and vehicle emissions would reduce air quality and become an issue to human health.

Also fueling the ENRP's recommendation to further examine the proposed Tonawanda crossing location was the prospect of directly connecting the Niagara Thruway to Ontario's Queen Elizabeth Way.

"We do not currently have enough information to endorse a particular proposal for the Peace Bridge," said Co-Chair of ENRP and Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature Bradley Erck. "That is exactly why we are advocating a full examination of the Tonawanda site in addition to the others. Why eliminate any options before we know if they're viable?"

This request is being submitted to the project manager of the Bi-National Integrated Environmental Process. The Erie Niagara Partnership will continue to work for results that will develop and benefit the entire region.