BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - There appears to be some progress for the long-delayed plans to improve the Peace Bridge. Governor Andrew Cuomo is clearing the way for construction.
If you've ever taken the Peace Bridge, you know what a traffic nightmare it can be. That's why the governor says things need to change.
Mayor Byron Brown announced the Peace Bridge Authority will approve $20 million in renovations to the U.S. Customs Commercial Building, which will begin later this month. And a preliminary agreement has also been made between the state and the City of Buffalo that would transfer two blocks of Busti Avenue to state property.
Mayor Brown said, "This is an important step in removing car and truck congestion at the Peace Bridge, one of the nation's busiest international border crossings."
The Common Council also announced any money exchanged in the purchase of Busti Avenue land will go directly to improve the neighborhood.
On the expansion of the bridge itself, Governor Cuomo also said it should have been expedited rather than held up by numerous obstacles.
"When you look at the numbers of the expected population growth in southern Ontario, it says that's where the economic future is. Open your arms and welcome it," Governor Cuomo said.
The Peace Bridge was built 84 years ago and only has three lanes of traffic for eight million people who take the bridge each year, which causes some serious back ups and headaches for drivers.
Governor Cuomo added, "This is going to be fundamentally different. Long overdue, much welcome, much needed."
But the plan isn't without opposition. Members of the Clean Air Coalition say the Cuomo Administration isn't being transparent enough with expansion plans. They also say more lanes of traffic will not reduce the emissions problem.
Natasha Soto of the Clean Air Coalition argued, "Well, there's no proof. The people who are making those statements have no scientific background to make those statements."
At least four fire companies responded to a large house fire in Blasdell.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The Niagara County Sheriff's is on the scene of a suspected meth lab in Cambria.
Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
Berry admitted filing 122 false federal income tax returns for people who had died. He must pay restitution for the stolen money.
Six-year-old Nya Ricks was chosen to light Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Tree of Hope Friday night.