(Artvoice, 5 July 2001) 
Peace Bruce Chronicles #55

Vincent "Jake" Lamb
Point Man at the Peace Bridge

by Bruce Jackson

(The second of two parts)
 
 

At a June 29 press conference at its Peace Bridge Plaza headquarters, Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority general managers Stephen Mayer and Earl Rowe described a wide range of pending improvements in bridge operations, some of them common-sense and long-overdue, some of them highly sophisticated and impressive. Over the next two years trucks will be tolled on the basis of axles rather than weight, a fourth truck lane will be added to the US plaza, and truck turning patterns will be tuned to work better. They’re introducing NEXIS, a CANPASS-type quick entry system for low-risk passenger travelers that will work in both directions and by the end of the year they’ll have EZPASS for cars and trucks so nobody will need tokens and hardly anybody will have to stop for change or open windows in the depths of winter. New custom booths on the Canadian side will better utilize the 35 additional customs officers just assigned there. Coordination with the Niagara Bridge commission will be improved. They’ve set up a virtual traffic model that seems likely to make current operations and planning far more efficient and accurate, and the new team of bridge inspectors they’ve hired have figured out a way to do their work  without shutting down lanes.

All of these improvements, said Vincent “Jake” Lamb,“ project manager of the Bi-National Integrated Environmental Process, will facilitate the flow of traffic through the Fort Erie-Buffalo corridor, but they won’t provide enough capacity to handle the increased truck traffic resulting from NAFTA. If the growth of trade between Canada and the US continues at anything like its present rate, he says, more lanes will be needed, however much efficiency at this crossing is increased.

Before any lanes are added—by widening the current bridge, building a new bridge adjacent to it or as a substitute for it, or building a new bridge near the International Railroad Bridge at Squaw Island or at the southern tip of Grand Island—permits must be acquired from a host of Canadian and US federal, state/provincial, and municipal agencies. Before all those permits can be issued, the PB A must conduct an environmental impact study. That is the process Lamb is currently managing.

THE PROCESS

The final decision on what bridge will be built, where it will be built, and what changes will be made in Buffalo and Fort Erie roads and parks will be made by the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (the PBA). That decision, presumably, will be predicated on the results of an environmental impact study overseen by a “Partnering Group” composed of the PBA, the City of Buffalo, and the Town of Fort Erie.

A few years ago, the PBA operated in almost perfect independence of the two communities at either terminus of the bridge. It bought Fort Erie and it ignored Buffalo. Now, for a variety of political, legal and economic reasons, all that seems to have changed. These days,  the PBA is paying attention to community concerns, needs, and interests. Instead of spending a fortune keeping the community at bay, it seems to be spending a fortune getting the community involved.  The person running that project for them running all that is Jake Lamb.

The Partnering Group  will be advised by the “Bi-National Citizens’ Advisory Committee,” a broadly-based group which in conception is similar to the Public Consensus Review Panel (PCRP), the group that studied bridge and plaza possibilities last year which was funded by the city, county, Wendt Foundation and Community Foundation.  The primary difference is this: the Authority did everything it could to pretend the PCRP didn’t exist, it never sent a representative to the table, and whenever it had to send a message it sent it via such surrogates as Buffalo-Niagara Partnership executives Andrew Rudnick and Natalie Harder. Now, the Partnering Group is on record as promising to heed what the citizens have to say.

Before any decisions get made there has to be an environmental impact study, the EIS. The word “environmental” in that term is taken very broadly: air, noise, water, animal life, human life, economic impact, traffic impact, neighborhood impact, and more. The EIS process is a complex matter requiring the services of a large number of specialized consultants. Last time, the PBA tried to avoid doing one at all. This time, they’re pouring a huge amount of money into consultant firms and attendant technology.

Before the EIS can begin a scoping document must be prepared. Lamb’s staff is presently working on draft scoping document. “The scoping document is a document that we will use during the first public information meetings. It’s a roadmap for the process. It will cover such things as project description, purpose and need of the project, goals and objectives and initial listing of alternatives based on information that obviously is available from work that was done before, how we’re going to evaluate those alternatives, the involvement of the public in the process, the roles and responsibilities of the various government agencies that have approval jurisdiction, and also the civic advisory committee.”

TIMELINE

Lamb says that about July 6 letters will be sent out to an equal number of Canadians and Americans inviting them to be on the Bi-National Civil Advisory Committee. The American political officials came up with their appointments as soon as Lamb requested them; the Canadians have been very sluggish about any actual participation. The first organizational meeting will be about 26 July. In the second week of July, he plans meetings with the American and Canadian agencies to which the EIS will be submitted and which will have to issue the permits  before construction can begin. In the latter part of July, they expect to publish a Notice of Intent to do the EIS.“That,” Lamb says, “is the formal kickoff of the environmental process.”

In August and September they will conduct meetings informing the public how the process will work and how public input can influence the decision-making. That will be followed by agency and public scoping meetings and workshops: deciding and discussing what questions the EIS will really answer, what possibilities it will consider.

They will prepare a draft scoping document that will be revised on the basis of the community meetings. In late September or early October, they will issue the final scoping document, the operational charter for the environmental, traffic, engineering, design and other consulting groups actually doing the EIS.

How long, I asked, will all this take?

“Our projection,” Lamb said, “is to get this done in 2 years.  It’s a lot.  It’s ambitious.  When we talked to the agencies, three years has been the best estimate so far.  But the public is pretty well informed, the ones that are interested, as to what’s going on.  And there’s been a lot of work that’s been done already, certainly by the Peace Bridge Authority on their earlier studies.  So there’s a lot of stakes in the ground with respect to understanding, for instance, environmental issues, and there’s been a lot of work done by the Public Consensus Review Panel. In addition to just technical information that was developed there, there was a broader impact, or a benefit from the standpoint of people being better informed about what was going on.  So if we capitalize on all of that, and keep our eyes focused here, I think we can get it done in two years.”

“Then what?”

“Well, if we can get this thing done in two years, we’d probably figure two years for the design, permitting and contracting.  You’ve got to figure about three or four years to construct it.  Maybe three would be good.  That’s a pretty realistic timeline. Maybe it’s a little optimistic on the front end.  That assumes that there’s no down time for litigation.”

TRAFFIC PROBLEMS
 
Some  work has already begun. “We started in May forecasting the project traffic. We need to do that to size the project and to make a quantitative analysis of the environmental impact. That’s underway.” They’ve also begun new aerial photography and mapping. “We need scaled mapping of the area and very recent aerial photography to make quantitative comparisons of the various alternatives.  We actually have increased the scope of the mapping in a northerly direction to go up as far as the southern tip of Grand Island because we anticipate that we’re going to be reviewing off-site concepts that we believe will be suggested during the scoping process by the public.”

The traffic project was stalled for two months because the operators of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit (who have been spreading a fortune around town pushing their plan to build an entirely new truck bridge privately owned by them) asked a Canadian court for an injunction to keep Earth Tech Canada from working for Wilbur Smith, the firm retained to do the traffic study. Earth Tech, said the Canadian Transit Company in Windsor, did some work for it in Windsor, so working as a traffic consultant down here would be a conflict of interest. [The Ambassador Bridge is operated by the Detroit International Bridge Corporation in Detroit, and the Canadian Transit Company in Windsor, Ontario. Dan Stamper is president of both.]

Lamb reopened the traffic consultant procurement process entirely“When we made the selection it was based on total team.” he said, so it would be unfair to let Wilbur Smith reconstitute itself after the fact.  They “had new interviews that took place during May.  In the meantime, all other activities with respect to the traffic issue stopped.” Three firms applies and the Wilbur Smith organization was again hired, but with a different consulting providing the Earth Tech services. “We think they ended up with a stronger team,” Lamb said.

The traffic consultants are looking at traffic patterns resulting from various bridge designs and locations the impact of various construction projects on the city while various kinds of new bridge might be built. “One of the first things Wilbur Smith has to do is take the Canadian and American traffic models and develop what I call a ‘bridge model,’ because there us no bridge model which closes the gap between the two models, and test it for validity to make sure there’s compatibility with the Canadian model and the American model.

“That includes the entire Niagara river frontier, so that we would be able to analyze the ‘what ifs’ of traffic.  If we looked at what would happen if we had a non-build alternative, the model might tell us how much traffic would go to other bridge crossings, divert to other locations, and also what the forecast would be here at the Bridge plaza. I wanted to make sure we’re capable of analyzing traffic projections if we are looking at what I call an ‘off-site alternative.’ If someone suggests putting a bridge somewhere else, we still need to take care of our bottleneck at the Peace Bridge facilities, so what’s going to happen to the traffic, what would be the traffic projections for the entire frontier? We wanted to make sure we had the capability of doing that because we knew we had to have that capability to respond to public concerns, the public questions that were raised.

“Part of their charter here is to analyze the maintenance and protection of traffic schemes that would be attendant to the various alternatives.  For instance, if one plan wanted to use route 198 temporarily, or divert to city streets, we’re going to have that analyzed.  You need to have those numbers in order to analyze, for instance, air and noise impact.  It’s a very critical piece.  We have authorized them to go ahead.”

This study, Lamb said, would also include the potential impact of Ontario’s plan to build the Mid-Peninsula Corridor, a new highway parallel to the QEW, ostensibly designed to shift truck traffic off a road primarily designed for passenger cars, but also designed to handle the increasing volume of truck traffic across this border.
 

Lamb talked at length about some of the key issues in the scoping, EIS and expansion projects. From here on out, we’ll give his remarks without quotation marks, my questions in italics. First, his response to my comment that the EIS process seemed massively complex and messy.

COMPLEXITY

Complex projects must be defined in small simple easily understood segments— which are then evaluated within the context of their interdependence. The interconnections and interdependency of all such segments must be understood and managed in creating the mosaic which defines the huge or complex project.

PERMITTING

We’re preparing for meetings with the Canadian permitting agencies to assure integration of the Canadian environmental processes with US process.  That’s extremely important because their process doesn’t follow the same kind of calendar sequencing that we use in the American side.  The Canadian process basically kicks in, officially or formally starts, when we know we have to get a permit. Their process is a lot more informal than ours. Generally, this is further down the line in terms of the American process.
 
The American process starts with, “What’s the project and why are you doing it?  What are the goals and objectives?” which also we are drafting right now.

Basically, the reason we want to meet with them is to make sure we’re all on the same page about what we’re doing.  We’re going to meet with the Canadian agencies.  And then we’re going to have a general, bi-national agency which will bring together the American agencies: New York DEC, FHWA, Coast Guard, all of the agencies that would have any role in the historic preservation.  Any agencies that would have a role in approving, or inputting into the process on both sides of the border.  We want to bring them together.  We’re going to go through the process with them, what the project is, the goals and objectives, the purpose.  And what we see as their roles and responsibilities.  To have them say, “Yes, we confirm that’s how we’re going to act in this thing.”  So that’s an important step that we want to get ready for.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

We’re going to act as if we are subject to freedom of information clause.  The Peace Bridge Authority are very supportive of all of this, with everything that we’re doing.  I’ve met with the attorneys. They’re talking about segregating some of the work products.  I was in a short meeting yesterday, and I said, “Why don’t we just don’t bother segregating.”  It’s such a pain to pick out what isn’t subject to it.  You almost have to be a lawyer to look at every one of these pieces of paper.  I don’t want something that complicated, I want something simple.  We’re working it out in advance.  And we’re working out an availability retrieval system so that the documents can be accessed.  You know it takes a little time and thought to do these kinds of things.

THE BI-NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

We’re preparing specific details for how to organize the bi-national advisory committee and other focus groups.

Who’s it going to advise?

It’s going to advise the consultant team.  It’s going to advise the Partnering Group team.  It’s going to advise the Peace Bridge Authority decision-makers and give input to the agencies, the Federal Highway Administration.  They’re all interested in involvement.  And they’re going to be there listening, as well as us.  It’s for hearing people’s ideas and it’s kind of a democratic process for presenting, deliberating, opposing ideas.  We’d certainly prefer that there be a cross-fertilization, if you will, of diverse interests represented.  It will help people better understand these issues and where the sources of those issues are.

We’re going to undertake what we call “collaborative workshops to focus on specific decision issues.  For instance, the alignment of the bridge.  Or the style of the bridge, the type of bridge.  Or the plaza alternatives.  Or other significant issues that are defined as the process proceeds.

This group would basically get diverse interests working together, and reviewing in detail specific work issues.  There would be some sort of voting process.  Let me tell you how I think that would work.  We would have a series of meetings, for instance, on alignment and things associated with alignment.  And the core group would be made up of the bi-national civic advisory group and anybody in the else in the public that wants to come and participate.  I don’t want to get involved in saying its got to be ten people from here, and two people from there or whatever.  I’m very leery of doing that king of thing, it excludes people.  You got to have diverse interests represented there or it’s not going to work.  They have to work towards a solution, not just talk about it: “Hey, let’s see what we could do about this and come up with a solution to pass along to the formal, authorized decision-makers.”

When I say the formal, authorized decision-makers, I’m talking about the people who have the responibility to undertake the project, which is basically the Peace Bridge Authority, the city of Buffalo, and the town of Fort Erie.  You’re not going to get anything done without those three basically agreeing to it.  So I want to get the public involved with inputting to that decision.

This bi-national civic advisory group plus interested public could turn out to be 100 people, it could turn out to be 120 people.  I don’t want to put any restriction on it.  I don’t want to have somebody at the door and say, “No, I’m sorry, we’ve already got somebody from your group.”  That means there’s the risk here of slanting. I have to accept that risk from the standpoint of it being a democratic process.  It doesn’t mean you’re going to show up at the last meeting and have a vote.  There’s going to be a series of meetings to deal with some of these projects.  We’re going to encourage and do everything we can to facilitate easy participation by people.

I expect that this group will do some self-governing of their own.  But the idea is to get them involved, to have this cross-fertilization of diverse interests, and explore and analyze, with the help of the technical team giving them technical input of what we can do and what we can’t do, and come up with a solution.  We need to have a doable project: it has to be doable from the sense of financial doability, constructability, feasability, and practicality.  Those things have to be defined, and we’re looking for public input to help us define those things.  The whole idea is to come up with a reasoned conclusion.

NATIVE ISSUES

We met with the Natives about the burial issues.  When I met with Wayne Hill, we talked and I said, “I am going to ask you to participate in our process.  You need to come if you have a concern about what is being planned, and let your viewpoints of your people be known to the public, so it isn’t filtered through somebody else.  I’m not going to carry that message.  I’ve heard what the message is, but you’re the one that has to do the message-carrying.”

I said, to Wayne “I want you to know  who you can come to to talk about the project and we want to have a continuing dialogue with you as we go through the process so that you know what we’re doing, what our thinking is, and what evaluation criteria we’re gonna use and we want your input, meaning the people you represent. We want to see them as well and we’ll come make presentations to them, we’ll find out about what their concerns are, so that they’re part of the process.

Ron Williamson was there— the guy that’s discovering Indian things.  He’s really doing a wonderful job there and he participated.  There wasn’t anybody else there.  Nobody from the Peace Bridge comes to these meetings at all.  They have given their absolute support and trust in what I’m doing, which I deeply appreciate.

I said “Look, I’ll get our bridge engineers to show you what we can do with respect to spans.  We may span over your burial sites.  We may have to put footings in different locations.  But we may be able to alter our ideas based on what your concerns are and based on where these things may be—based on where these burials may be.”

He said “OK.  We’ll take a look at them and we’ll consider them.”

I almost fell off of the chair.  I was ready to see some other reaction to it.  I said, “Fine, that’s fair enough.”

He said, “I’ll talk to my people and you come and we’ll review what our issues are.”

I was encouraged by that, and not from the standpoint that I favor one thing over the other, but from the standpoint that it would mean we’d have a very fair, objective open dialogue about the issue.

Much more efficient at this stage than a lawsuit afterwards.

Exactly. So Ron pointed out that he knew where everything was: every square meter of that place has been dug up on the north side.  On the south side, we already had cooperated with Williamson and the First Nation in doing digging and locating the piers in such a way that it was acceptable to them.

I was pleased that they would consider us having air rights over their burial ground.  That wouldn’t happen with a US cemetery. You wouldn’t go anywhere near it. They feel very strongly and they don’t want to disturb their spirits. They have allowed some construction to take place over top of the burial grounds  as long as that construction did not go into them.  Now where would you get this any place else?  These people are very fair-minded.  This is how their culture works and we respect that culture.  And that’s fine.  Our culture wouldn’t go that far.  We’d say “Outta here,” right?

HISTORICAL SITES

We’re going to look at replacement.  You know that we have to go through a process on replacement, that there’s certain protection afforded to historical structures, historic sites. So it’s a hill that has to be climbed.  Even changing the arch, we have to clear that with SHPO.

But that’s never been declared a historic site.

That doesn’t matter.  Even if it’s declared eligible, which it has been, it’s afforded the same protection.

On the Canadian side there is an indicated strong preference to keep the bridge.  They met with Christian Menn and they said to him, “We want to keep the bridge.”  That’s what they were telling him.

In any event, we’re going to look at it, and we’re going to find out what people think about it, what the physical aspects of it are.

OTHER SITES

Basically we have a bridge problem. We have a Peace Bridge problem which is a problem on an existing corridor—the QEW and I-190, a 2000- , 3000-foot section of it, the bridge and plaza.  We’re not looking at an alternative of changing the system or the corridor, we’re looking at taking that bottleneck out of there.

Having said that, we recognize that there are issues being raised of perhaps looking at other sites.  Our attitude and approach and policy is that we will look at these other sites.  Not within the context of a regional study to determine the optimum location of a potential new crossing somewhere, but we will be responsive to a suggestion in the public forum that would look at, for instance a crossing at the International Bridge.  Technically, one could argue that we don’t have to do that.  But I don’t think that’s the kind of answer I want to give to he public, because the questions are being asked.  That’s why we’re doing the aerial photography and  the mapping and the traffic analyses, so we’re able to analyze them to the point of being able to discuss them and evaluate them in the public forum.  We will look at specific off-site alternatives as an alternative to what we’re talking about here. We have an existing bottleneck there that we have to fix one way or the other anyhow.

Some people say, “If you have more customs people, then you don’t need more bridge space.”  That’s not correct.  You’re still going to need the physical bridge space.  Let’s say you remove the plazas.  You would still not have enough physical capacity on the bridge with three lanes.  That’s the bottom line.  The traffic guys will demonstrate that and they will have these little PacMan displays to run these little ants around to show you what it would look like, so the public can understand. It’ll demonstrate what I’m talking about.

If there were no customs immigration or tollbooths, there would still be a problem?

Yes.  You’d have a problem at the bridge only. I don’t know about the connecting roads— maybe you’d want to improve them too—but basically, if you had no operations on either side, you’d still have to do something with the bridge.

What happens when you take a look at it, and one of these crossings , say leaving cars on the Peace Bridge, putting trucks somewhere else, does make some kind of sense.  What do you do with that?  Because that’s inimical to your interests.

If it’s a viable alternative, it’s going to take on a life of itself.

It’s been suggested to me in a couple of these public meetings that it would make sense to move the trucks.  If you’re going to move the trucks, you’re going to have to have the jurisdictional ability to do that.  Those the issues would have to be addressed.  Presumably, that means no trucks on the Peace bridge, because if you keep having trucks on the Peace Bridge, you can’t move the customs and immigration operations.  We have to look and see what the aspects of doing that are.

And we would.  If that is a serious alternative that the public wants us to look at, if it comes up in the public scoping session, we’ll take a look at it.  Our traffic engineers could analyze the “what ifs” with respect to the truck traffic.

MODIFYING THE  SCOPING MEMORANDUM

When we put it together, then we modify the draft scoping document or scoping memorandum that we had started with, to reflect issues of substance, or concerns of substance.  We’re going to document it all.  We’re going to go through that and pick out and highlight and put it into categories, maybe prioritize these issues that are brought up from the standpoint of how serious they are, and how much concern was expressed.

Then we’re going to go through public meetings again to go over or modify that scoping memorandum, which basically is turned into a final scoping memorandum.  Now what happens in that final scoping memorandum is, we’re going to have a long list of alternatives.  In other words, we aren’t going to knock any alternatives out during the scoping process.  We’re going to listen to everybody, especially environmental concerns.

You have to do enough analysis to make sure you basically haven’ t missed the big picture, haven’t missed something that could eventually turn an alternative into a reasonable one, a practical one. That is going to be a demanding process, requiring a lot of energy, a lot of time.

But we’re not presenting an analysis at that point in time.  We’re just talking about the process, and what we call initial alternatives for screening.  That’s what I’m talking about.  They would survive the scoping process.

After that, how may alternatives go into the next stage?

The draft EIS.  Sometimes one goes in as a preferred alternative, sometimes more than one goes in.  It depends on what that evaluation and public input is to this evaluation of retained alternatives.  Hopefully you end up with a preferred alternative.  You don’t necessarily have to.  You go through the draft EIS process and go through iteration of public information meetings, and, if you have  more than one there, to try and really narrow down to one.  It’s quite possible you could end up with two that are rather similar, or two that are quite a ways apart that would basically satisfy people.  In which case you say, “Go ahead applicant, you make the final selection for the preferred alternative.”

What goes to the lead agencies?  Does the lead agency in the EIS see the two, or does the client?

The lead agency would see the two.

And after that is when the client decides what’s going to be done?

The applicant would decide.

This takes us through the end of the environmental impact study.  What happens next?

What happens is the applicant decides to go ahead with the project or decides decide not to go ahead with the project.  If the applicant decides to go ahead with the project, they would prepare designs and get the permits.  A lot of the permits depend on more detailed design than we would develop during this scoping and EIS process, because the amount of work we would do in this process in terms of detailing design would be only sufficient to make a objective comparative evaluation of alternatives and their environmental impact.

I don’t anticipate that we’re going to get into picking out railings and that kind of thing durng the environmental process.  But we have to do enough to have comfort about it being what we want.  We get into the final design process, and concurrently with that, in a sequential way, you do the permitting.  If there’s right of way to be acquired, that has to be an early action item, because eventually it means relocation of people.  You have to do enough designs to draw your right of way drawings and get that underway.  You get the design down, and you go through a tendering process.

PROBLEMS

Do you see any major problems along this very smooth route you’ve described?

If I’ve described it as smooth, that was unintentional. I don’t see it as necessarily being smooth. I think we’re going to have our rough spots.

I mean, are there major, environmental issues, other than the Native burial grounds issue?Are there problem areas that you foresee?

Well, I’m concerned about the burial grounds. I think we have to be very careful there, be very sensitive to the issues raised there. We can’t just disregard them. They’re serious and I think there’s logic to those issues. Especially, comparing it with what our culture would say if similar things were being done on the other side of the river. I think that’s an issue.

 I think another issue is the bridge itself with respect to historic significance and what I call disposition of the existing bridge. I’m not saying these things can’t be worked out, but I think these are focal points.

The other has to do with of course the US plaza and connecting roads.  There’s definitely a desire in the community, I don’t know how broad that desire is but I know it exists, to make some improvements there that are what I call quality-of-life enhancements. They are certainly good objectives for people to have for themselves and their community, and I certainly respect that, and would like to see us try and achieve some of those objectives in conjunction with the bridge. They do cause issues, more serious issues, than would otherwise be encountered because it means we have to move the plaza to a different location. Modify its location somewhat—maybe move completely or partially off its existing location. This means going into the community in terms of moving people. It’s really a greater impact from the standpoint of noise and air quality. But right now there’s just basically one side of the plaza that’s adjacent to a residential area. If you move, depending on how far you swing that arc, you could have three sides of the plaza, which means you have to be thinking in terms of buffer zones. You  have to be thinking in terms of how do you mitigate or lessen or decrease the obvious environmental impacts of any transportation facility. There’s noise and air pollution from mobile sources. It’s unavoidable.

So we’re concerned about the environmental impacts with respect to air quality and its associated public health issues. And we’re concerned about impact on the community, that includes the potential of an environmental justice issue. We’re very sensitive to that. We think it’s our job to make sure that that issue is addressed. When I saw the public review consensus panel, and of course I was talking to the engineers as they were going through the process, and we talked about the environmental justice issue and it didn’t seem to have as much serious import as I thought it should have had to the people who were involved in the process. I think it was probably that this isn’t the time to do that; it should be done later. Which I accept. It’s the same as putting, as part of our scoping document, a scheme out there without realizing what all the impacts will be. So I said okay. I accept that. It needs to be looked at later. But it is serious. There needs to be people that have to be moved. It isn’t only the people who’ve been moved—it’s what’s left of the neighborhood. It’s like you live here, and somebody coming though and moving out ten of your neighbors. Is the neighborhood the same? Especially if there’s some Chinese Wall there.
 
The connections, the air quality; public health as I mentioned is an issue. I would like to see park restoration. I would like to see the development of that park to be a flourishing attractive place for people to go to. I’d like to see the state build, as I’ve suggested here—and I’m not the first one to suggest it, I don’t want to take credit for any of this stuff, it’s all old stuff—this welcome center, with perhaps some commercial development alongside it. So that it’s m ore than a bridge project,  more than a transportation project. Not that we would do that as part of this project, and we’re not going to analyze that as part of this project, but certainly there are obvious embellishments, things to be done in conjunction with this project.

And of course the money. I’m worried about financing a project that would be most likely to be achievable on a consensus basis, if you follow me. It’s going to take money to do this. And I think it’s going to be, based on what I know now, and I don’t know…we’ll have to see what develops here, we’ll have to have more detailed estimates and have better information in order to make judgments. And I realize the community has other priorities and other needs, but you know why shouldn’t we try to get the money that’s needed to do the project in a complete way? Why shouldn’t we do that? Why shouldn’t we aim for that? And that’s going to be extremely important, because in the final cut, when we get down to the end, what you put in that draft has to be doable. It could be doable from the standpoint of staging it, if you can work it out that way. And it’s got to be doable in terms of having the money to get it built. Of having a plan to get the money to do it. So that’s going to be, again, one of the key issues.

I think that’s all of them.

copyright 2001 Bruce Jackson

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