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Demolition of Busti Ave. Properties by the Public Bridge Authority in Advance of Peace Bridge Plaza Expansion

Let’s be clear: According to the Public Bridge Authority, there is no expansion plan.

If there were a plan, the PBA would have to jump several regulatory hurdles before proceeding. Demolishing its several Busti Avenue properties “without plans” is a patently obvious attempt to circumvent the regulatory process—and it’s funded by 15 million of our tax dollars granted the bridge authority in this year’s state budget. The mob couldn’t do a better job of laundering.

So why demolish the properties (two of which are occupied) for no reason? Of course there’s a reason, one set in motion almost two decades ago when the bridge authority began purchasing these homes to let them rot, sowing the seeds of an engineered blight to destroy this West Side community, the first—and only remaining (for now)—waterfront neighborhood in the city. And when 98 percent of the commercial traffic crossing the bridge passes right on through, of what benefit is it, except to the bridge authority itself and the Duty Free merchants that lease space from the authority?

Peace Bridge general manager Ron Reinas is upset with Mayor Byron Brown for standing with his citizens against a rampant public authority and failing to conspire with the authority on this illegal scheme. Reinas claims that these demos have “no relation” to the bridge authority’s future plans; that in fact the PBA has “no plans” to do anything (and both his hands are behind his back, and his fingers are crossed). Really, he may only be doing his job, but this man is more duplicitous than a film noir femme fatale. I wouldn’t trust him to tell me the correct time and temperature, let alone the truth about plaza expansion.

Mayor Brown is right: The authority must stop this charade and reveal the plans for plaza expansion. It has them. It’s been working on them for decades! The mayor and the residents of this beleaguered neighborhood will not be bullied by the bridge authority, the Buffalo News editorial board, and the spineless, self-serving politicians who would destroy them. Stop this carnage before we regret yet another irreparable mistake in our history of “dumb growth” development.

> Peterjoe Certo, Buffalo

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