Buffalo Niagara Partnership Member Spotlight: Bonadio Group

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership represents nearly 2,000 members and a quarter of a million employees in the Buffalo Niagara region.

To celebrate our members and their accomplishments, we have started a Member Spotlight blog series and today we are proud to recognize and celebrate The Bonadio Group!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Rocco Surace, Partner with the firm, to learn more about what they do and why they’re happy to be a member of the Partnership.

Q: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I’m eager to learn more about The Bonadio Group and your relationship with the Partnership – but before we get started, I wanted to congratulate you on being ranked No. 50 on the list (released by Accounting Today) of the 100 largest CPA firms in the country.

A: Thank you, Julia.

Q: So, tell me a little bit more about your firm. What’s the mission of The Bonadio Group?

A: Our mission is to serve our clients with the best quality and efforts that are humanly possible. We always try to go the extra mile for our clients by listening to their needs and desires, and providing them with excellent customer service.

BonadioGroup_PMSWe have grown considerably over the last 20 years both by acquiring new clients and through merging with firms that are similar in practice philosophy and client base.

We are now likely the largest firm in upstate New York, with more than 500 people. With our 150 people here, we are a Buffalo firm; we’re Buffalo people and we take care of Western New York.

It’s the synergies of a large firm that enable us to serve our clients better, with many areas of expertise we can call on. So, we say that we have big firm capability with a small firm personality.

Q: I love that slogan. So, how long have you been a member of the Partnership?

A: Well, our membership under The Bonadio Group name might only date back to 2010, but I am the former managing partner of Gaines, Kriner, Elliott, which was a Partnership member for years, back when you were still referred to as the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Bonadio and I had been talking about possibly merging for quite some time and we decided to go forward to see what it would look like. As we met, there was never a reason to go back and say “no.”

We realized there were a lot of synergies in joining together, so we merged in November 2013 – not out of necessity, but rather out of opportunity to both become better and stronger.

Q: Since the merger, what benefits has The Bonadio Group received or experienced through its membership?

A: We belong for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is the Partnership is an organization that helps unify a single voice for matters of great significance to our area – everything from Unshackle Upstate, to elections, to the well-being of the business community. The Partnership is clearly the leading organization of that effort.

bonadio rocco headshot

Rocco Surace, Partner at The Bonadio Group

Similarly, the strength of the advocacy initiatives and efforts comes from the strength of the members – the business community. A healthy business community means a healthy environment for jobs and for growth.

What we want is to be fair – to allow businesses to sustain themselves, to be profitable, and grow. Then you throw the educational and networking opportunities on top of that and you have a very good forum to interact with the rest of the community. There is nobody as fully regional as the Partnership.

One of the things that is important to us, and we want to do more of this, is providing our young people with avenues to learn how to network and become involved in the greater community, not just at their employer.

The Partnership enables our young accountants to take the next step in their careers and personal development to get involved with the business community.

Q: It’s great to hear how passionate you are about providing young professionals with opportunities to get involved in the community. We actually blogged about the importance of doing so last week! So, what current challenges or opportunities do you face that you think the Partnership might be able to play a role in?

A: We see a large opportunity in becoming involved in the Advanced Manufacturing Council and look forward to seeing how we can further support the manufacturing community.

One reason why I’m a big believer in the manufacturing industry and council is due to the multiplier effect – every $1 invested is spent at least four times over, and long term manufacturing means good jobs and better benefits – especially when a business is doing well.

I think that’s what the manufacturing council is all about. They are trying to reverse years of a bad reputation and turn it into a positive spiral, which by the way, I think they have!

Things are getting increasingly better and that is why we are excited to be a part of that now.

Q: We are happy to have you involved! Are there any recent accomplishments that you’d like the community to be aware of? For example, I know you recently had an office move and were also rated as one of the top 10 firms for woman.

A: Yes, that’s correct. We recently did some remodeling and we had the opportunity to take over the rest of the floor at 100 Corporate Parkway, so we will soon be moving all of our employees under one roof at that location.

bonadio office 100 corp parkway

100 Corporate Parkway

Similarly, we recognized a long time ago that we would be foolish to not recognize the growing number of women in our profession and make sure that they realized they have equal opportunities. We feel strongly about everyone being treated equally, so we are very proud to be recognized for that.

This recognition is all about the professional development of our people along with our results – we have a large number of female partners who have risen through the ranks.

Bonadio & Co. has a history of being nationally recognized as a Best Place to Work as rated by our people. That was another great synergy we had, as Gaines, Kriner, Elliott was also consistently rated as a best place to work.

I think that speaks to how important we think our employees are. It’s not an effect to buy happiness; it’s about being successful, responsible and having fun. We recognize that to have fun, you need to treat your employees and your clients well – it’s a focus on all three legs of the stool: leadership, employees and customers.

Q: I agree. So, can you tell me a little bit about your decision to become the presenting sponsor of our Advanced Manufacturing Council? As one of the founding members of this council who helped us get to where we are today, what would you say you’re most excited about in regards to this opportunity?

A: Just to be back with the group! Timing is everything and we are looking forward to being involved as the presenting sponsor. We have a lot of experience with manufacturers – we know their pains and opportunities, so we are excited to be back with them.

Q: Are there any other current opportunities for employment or involvement with The Bonadio Group?

A: We’re always hiring. With 500 people, that’s a continual process.

I have a group that I’m responsible for to serve our commercial clients and we are currently looking for two experienced hires in the commercial world – everything from supervisory to management level.

Q: That’s great. So, what benefits are you most looking forward to experiencing in the upcoming year through your involvement with the Partnership?

NYW_0008

networking at the Partnership’s 2014 Annual Report

A: The benefit comes from the networking. The more people we get to know, the more encouraged I get and the more doors it opens. The networking aspect is huge.

We say that we are a big firm with a small firm personality, and that’s really what Western New York is. You don’t need to go through six degrees of separation here.

As you go out there and know more people, you are at an advantage to be able to help other people and it’s a win for everybody. That’s what we are about – building up the business community to be stronger, and we accomplish that by building relationships.

It’s great working in a relationship-based environment where everybody has an opportunity to win: our clients, our people, our firm, the business community and all the people who work there who in turn support the rest of our community – it’s quite the positive spiral.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Using Riverbend to leverage future regional investment

The city of Buffalo has seen a tremendous amount of investment in the Waterfront, Outer Harbor and our former brownfield industrial areas, which has led to many exciting projects currently in the works.

One of the highest-profile projects of late has been Riverbend, which was recently sold to the state, totaling a property size of 184 acres.

With assistance from Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion and StartUp NY programs, Riverbend will establish a green technology manufacturing hub in Buffalo.

Through the Riverbend project, the area will welcome two major companies: Soraa, a leading developer of LED lighting technology, and Solar City, one of the world’s preeminent solar panel producers.

In order to meet production needs, these two companies (as well as the other major emerging developments in the project area) will require significant investment in first-class infrastructure.

Existing businesses and landowners are seeing an ongoing improvement to corridors such as Ohio Street, but the Partnership is hoping to take things a step further.

the new ny works for businessIn collaboration with National Grid and the University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI), the Partnership is conducting the Riverbend Area – Infrastructure Needs Assessment.

The goal of the project is to model future usage demand by reaching out to stakeholders in both the Riverbend and former industrial areas to determine future development plans and current infrastructure and utility needs.

This data model will be used by National Grid, and hopefully other utilities and infrastructure providers, to determine how exactly to make the most effective upgrades to current systems.

It is our goal to leverage current investments in the area by taking a comprehensive approach to infrastructure upgrades, rather than looking at improvements on a project-by-project basis.

The outreach process is already underway.

The first step involved isolating the project area, which begins just south of downtown and extends through the Outer Harbor and Ganson Street, all the way to the former Bethlehem Steel site. The project area runs to the east to include the Riverbend area and Buffalo River corridor, and incorporates the South Buffalo brownfield sites.

PrintThe second step involves surveying stakeholders in the area in regards to their current infrastructure needs and their anticipated needs for the future.

UBRI will compile and model all of the data gathered in order to aggregate demand for the area. Once the needs of the entire project area are determined, the data will be used by National Grid to determine the most effective plan of action moving forward.

It is our hope that this initiative will provide a new paradigm when it comes to looking at development projects and their corresponding utility upgrades.

Rather than waiting for existing systems to fail, this needs assessment will proactively address needs (both current and future) to ensure an effective system is in place for years to come.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Takeaways from Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)

The opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with hundreds of chambers of commerce doesn’t happen every day – but when it does, it is always extremely valuable.

The other week, on behalf of The Partnership, I attended the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) meeting alongside Sara Schumacher, our senior director of member services, and Liz Callahan, our workforce development manager.

ACCE, held this year in Cincinnati, brings together hundreds of chambers from around the country to discuss industry trends and best practices.

Cinci bball game

baseball game in Cincinnati

Each of us walked in with a different focus and walked away with some incredible insights into the following topics:

Advocacy: A lot of the discussion in the advocacy breakout sessions had to do with policy, its messaging, and how it relates to politics. While the Partnership’s official government affairs team is small (just me!) our entire organization has a focus on advocacy and working for our members – of which we take great pride.

As for our political action, we often chat with “red state” chambers that don’t have to fight the anti-business policies and regulations we’ve had to fight for so long in New York State, which gives us a unique perspective on getting involved in elections and politics.  For us, it’s a necessary evil, but one that can produce stellar results for our members.

We’ve fined tuned our processes for engagement in political action, through the help of some great ideas that have come out of ACCE conference conversations!

Stay tuned for a blog from our President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen who will be “telling the story” of how we engage, and why.

Membership: ACCE represents an exciting opportunity for membership-minded employees to network and exchange ideas.

The conversations that we had with our peers, focused on unique ways to communicate with members and the community, ended up being one of the biggest takeaways from the conference. In many cases, such as our employer outreach program and content-driven events, the Partnership is ahead of the curve.

Cinci skyline

Cincinnati skyline

Entrepreneurship: Supporting, and working with, entrepreneurs was a hot topic at ACCE! Engaging start-ups and second-stage companies takes more than a new event- it requires a shift in mindset.

With Buffalo Niagara becoming an entrepreneur hot spot, it was wonderful to get the chance to speak to other chambers about how the Partnership can be a resource for companies through business intelligence, networking and economic gardening.

The conference was a wonderful experience, as it showed us the differences that exist between regional and smaller chambers of commerce and allowed us to walk away with a greater understanding of the best practices that exist in the chamber world.

We look forward to continuing to proactively seek out ways to further enhance our communications with members and strengthen our ability to provide Partnership members with solutions to their problems.

Have questions or want to learn more about our findings and/or expertise?

Contact us for more information on advocacy, membership and/or entrepreneurship!

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Young Professionals Week: embracing Buffalo Niagara’s renaissance

Young professionals throughout the Buffalo Niagara region are using terms such as “renaissance”, “rebirth” and “growth” when referring to the changes taking place locally.

This Buffalo “boom” is leading to positive results for a variety of industries throughout the region including manufacturing, construction, recruitment and development.

IMG_4907

Young professionals gathered at Resurgence Brewery for our collaborative Happy Hour with EBL

Buffalo has been able to boast a population increase in the young professional (or millennial) demographic, leading to a greater need for strong young professional organizations.

As we move into September, we are excited to kick off another year of Buffalo Niagara 360 programming!

The BN360 program (which is entering its seventh year) offers leadership and professional development, as well as networking opportunities, to prepare our young professionals to become the leaders of our region.

Our year begins during Young Professionals Week: September 15-18, 2014.

We will wrap up the week with our big Kickoff Celebration on September 18, where our full year of programming will be unveiled and our Spotlight Young Professionals for the year will be announced.

So what’s in store for Young Professionals Week, and how does it relate to the region’s development?

the hub

Handlebar at the Apartments at the Hub

To help encourage young professionals to play a part in our region’s renaissance, we ensured that the event line-up for YP week was focused around the factors that are defining Buffalo’s “boom”: new jobs, development & enthusiasm.

New Jobs: Young Professionals Week will kick off with a collaborative event (hosted by a number of YP organizations) on Monday evening at The Foundry, a new business incubator and creative community space that is focused on building business and inspiring the next generation of leaders.

Seeing as how BN360′s mission is to provide young professionals with opportunities to develop both personally and professionally, The Foundry is a perfect venue to start a week of engagement and collaboration.

On Tuesday evening, Startup Grind Buffalo will bring together the region’s start-up community for a keynote speech by Dan Penberthy from Rand Capital.

Development: In most areas of downtown Buffalo, new developments are popping up and cranes are filling the skies.

We want to make sure our young professionals check out the newest developments, so our Kickoff Celebration will be at The Apartments at the Hub, a gorgeous new spot (so new that it hasn’t yet opened) that includes one & two bedroom apartments, Handlebar (a cycling themed bar and restaurant where you can pedal at your table to charge your phone!), a bike shop and a fitness center.

Enthusiasm: One of the most welcome changes in the region has been a change in attitude. It is a palpable change that has been building over the past few years. Buffalo’s young professionals believe in the city, want to get involved and are going out and making a difference.

Every week, the social media sphere is filled with positive Buffalo news stories. In a recent Buffalo News article, President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen said, “I think we all feel really energized. It’s a continuing part of the Buffalo story. We’ve got to keep the momentum going.”

With that in mind, we are partnering with Social Media Club Buffalo to offer a Social Media & Ethics panel on Wednesday, September 17.

young professionals

YPs gathered at BN360′s 2013 ‘Give Back’ event

How can we keep that momentum going?

For starters, we encourage young professionals that aren’t already members to register today to join BN360 in order to take advantage of this year’s incredible line-up of events. For more information on joining BN360, contact Liz Callahan.

In order for our region to continue to flourish, we need our young professionals to see the value in working together to bring about new ideas and opportunities for the individuals and businesses across Buffalo Niagara.

By investing in our young professionals, we can ensure the momentum continues to push the Buffalo Niagara region in the right direction.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

World’s longest international border steps up trade security

The security of our borders has been under scrutiny for the past several months.

Although much of this increased attention has been paid to our Southern border, the Buffalo Niagara region and its border with Canada (which happens to be the longest in the world) is experiencing new levels of trade security.

Customs and Border Protection – advancing from informed to enforced compliance:

To support its mission of securing our borders, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced a stricter enforcement plan for importer security filing (ISF) requirements, and has outlined a detailed approach that includes issuing monetary liquidated damages for non-compliant importers.

What is an Importer Security Filing?

The ISF is a mandatory filing with CBP of specific shipment data elements, used for security and targeting, commonly referred to as 10 + 2. The ISF must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to loading cargo on to a vessel at the foreign port by the importer or his/her agent.

welke logoWhat are CBP’s next steps?

Previously, Customs at local ports of entry recommended that liquidated damages be issued for ISF violations. However, CBP headquarters has been reluctant.

As an initial step, Customs has decided to wipe the slate clean of any known violations, although this does not preclude Customs from acting on fraudulent or criminal activity.

Customs’ enforcement plan includes local port discretion and a “three strikes, you’re out” rule.

Similarly, Customs plans to use a national database to track and advise importers of repeated violations. After the third violation, there will be no exceptions and liquidated damages will be assessed.

This process will change on May 13, 2015, at which point liquidated damages will be assessed upon the first violation and the “three strike rule” will not be applicable.

What are liquidated damages?

Liquidated damage is a monetary claim issued against the importer bond for failure to comply with Customs laws and regulations.

CBP may issue liquidated damages up to a maximum of $5,000 per violation for the submission of an inaccurate, incomplete, or untimely ISF.

damon piatek headshot

Damon Piatek

An importer or their agent may file a petition outlining mitigating or aggravating circumstances and pay a lesser amount if CBP determines that law enforcement goals were not compromised.

Examples of mitigating circumstances include:

  • demonstrated steps to improve compliance
  • progressive improvement in compliance rating
  • circumstances outside the importer’s control
  • a marginal error rate based on overall volume
  • C-TPAT status (Customers-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism)

Guidelines for mitigation for the first violation is $1000 – $2000, and $2500 for subsequent violations. C-TPAT members will receive an additional 50 percent reduction.

—-

About the author: Damon Piatek, an eight-year Partnership member and current board member, is Co-Owner, President and CEO of Welke Customs Brokers USA, Inc. He is also a Licensed U.S. Customs Broker and Customs Compliance Specialist, and has over 18 years of experience in the import/export, customs, transportation and logistics sectors. Click here to read his blog post in PDF format.

Want to learn more about logistics and how to get involved in our Transportation/Logistics Council? Contact Bryan Roth.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Show me the numbers: the progress of Buffalo Niagara

I am a big fan of data and metrics.

Despite Mark Twain’s adage that “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics,” I find myself more into the Jerry Maguire category: “Show me the money!” or more aptly, “Show me the numbers!”

I’ve written about the energy we’re all feeling in the region’s renaissance, and now I want to share with you some of the numbers that show the trends are moving in the right direction.

Last month, performance measures from the “Strategy for Prosperity” (AKA the Buffalo Billion plan) were compiled by the UB Regional Institute and released by Empire State Development.

The report’s intent is to show how much progress we have made since the plan was released. Looking over the past two years, we see some good progress.

econ slide jobsFor example, the number of jobs in Western New York between 2011 and 2013 increased by 3,773.

But what’s really important is that the trend line is pending in the positive direction after many years of decline.

Similarly, total wages have increased by $987,000,000, up 4 percent. We haven’t paced at the state’s average of 5.1 percent, but we still see the numbers moving in the right direction.

The total number of firms operating in Western New York increased by 812, that’s a 13.3 percent change since 2011.

The number of firms trend line has been relatively flat since 2000 and this uptick is significant and hopefully bodes well for future.

econ slides firmsOther notable numbers include:

  • academic research and development (R&D) spending is up by 1.4 percent – (an entrepreneurship indicator)
  • the rate of students completing high school is up 1.8 percent
  • visitor spending is up 4.7 percent
  • the regional population of people between the ages of 20 and 34 is up 3.8 percent in the past two years

Not all of the numbers are positive – but in total, these incrementally positive changes mean we’re on the right track to reinventing our economy.

You can take a look at the PowerPoint here and if you have time, I would encourage you to read the full plan.

I commend all of those involved and the hundreds of volunteers that are staying engaged in this important effort to improve our region’s economy.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Collaborative border tour at the Peace Bridge

Did you know the Peace Bridge is the second busiest land border crossing between Canada and the United States?

Last week, the Canadian Consulate hosted BN360 and Emerging Business Leaders of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce for an afternoon and evening of collaboration, exploration and bi-national education and networking.

The afternoon started with a tour of the Peace Bridge led by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection where we were informed that every year, $40 billion in trade crosses the bridge and close to five million automobiles utilize this crossing.

border tour 2The $40 billion that crosses the bridge translates to job creation in Buffalo Niagara, as banks, logistic brokers, law firm and accounting firms all work to ensure that our region’s goods and services are able to cross the border in an efficient manner.

Through the tour, we were provided with the opportunity to see the passenger and commercial inspection lanes and speak directly with Customs officers about the types of things they see every day.

The Customs Officers showed us different tools such as Radiation Portal Monitors, Personal Radiation Detectors and other technology used to keep the border secure and traffic moving quickly.

We walked away with an understanding of how both goods and people are efficiently cleared for entry into the United States.

A few hours after the tour, we convened at Resurgence Brewery for a happy hour to network and learn more about NEXUS Niagara, a bi-national program which expedites the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the United States through promotion of the NEXUS card.

NEXUS, a trusted traveler program which just announced their 1 millionth member, provides expedited border crossing services between the U.S. and Canada for five years of use for only $50.00!

For those of us who like to travel to Canada often, it’s well worth the price.

IMG_4907NEXUS-dedicated customs inspection lanes are available in the Niagara Region at the following bridges:

Thank you to the Canadian Consulate for such an informative and exciting day!

I think our friends from EBL put it best:

“I think the collaborative nature of the two events can’t be overstated—not only are two of the largest organizations in the area working together to cultivate and empower new leadership, but we were able to cross borders and offer an extraordinarily unique experience in conjunction with the Canadian Consulate. Of course, we were also able to highlight and support the burgeoning craft beer industry in WNY through the happy hour at Resurgence Brewing. What else could you ask for?” - Matthew Pelkey, Chair of the Emerging Business Leaders

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

National Manufacturing Day: save the date!

There are only 54 days until National Manufacturing Day!

Yes, we’re counting the days…

WNY nat'lmanufacturingdayNational Manufacturing Day, an annual event that occurs on the first Friday of October (October 3, 2014,) is an occasion to both celebrate manufacturing and its contribution to economic growth and innovation in our country, and foster interest in careers in advanced manufacturing.

Originally created to correct the public’s perception of manufacturing, National Manufacturing Day plays an important role in highlighting the reality of modern manufacturing – highly trained, well-paid employees that work in state-of-the-art facilities producing innovative products.

The Partnership has partnered with Insyte Consulting, Dream It, Do It WNY, Charter School for Applied Technologies and the WNY STEM Hub to put a unique spin on how we celebrate National Manufacturing Day in the Buffalo Niagara region, and we hope you can join us!

Stay tuned for more information on how we plan to expand National Manufacturing Day into Manufacturing Month!

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Senator Grisanti: advocating for Buffalo Niagara

We are proud to endorse Senator Mark Grisanti for re-election to a third term as a member of the New York State Senate representing the 60th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo as well as communities in both the Northtowns and the Southtowns areas of Western New York.

Grisanti photo3Why do we support him?

“Senator Mark Grisanti has consistently been one of the best advocates for taxpayers in Albany, and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is proud to support his candidacy for re-election,” said our President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen.

“Senator Grisanti has a stellar record representing Buffalo Niagara, including leading the fight for UB2020, reauthorizing historic preservation tax credits, reforming ballast water regulations, passing manufacturer tax relief and, most recently, extending the Brownfield Cleanup Program, the Partnership’s number one priority this year. We look forward to continuing to work with him on issues that impact Buffalo Niagara businesses and taxpayers.”

Grisanti photo1The Partnership and Grisanti have been close collaborators on economic development initiatives that have led to:

  • lower taxes
  • the creation of more jobs
  • cleaner neighborhoods
  • renewed economic opportunities in the region

Grisanti understands that the key to building a prosperous and sustainable region is to improve our business climate by lowering taxes and eliminating wasteful spending, and he has done that by addressing New York State’s high tax burden.

“Today, middle class families in New York enjoy the lowest state tax rate is 61 years,” Grisanti said.

Join us in supporting a candidate who will continue to make the growth and development of the Buffalo Niagara region a priority. 

To read the full press release detailing our endorsement of Senator Mark Grisanti, click here.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Niagara Falls Bridge Commission: upcoming projects

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission recently announced several new programs and construction projects that will help its international bridges become more efficient.

The following projects, which will temporarily inconvenience some drivers, will have long term, positive impacts on border operations:

Whirlpool-Rapids Bridge Primary Inspection Lane Construction to Result in Canada-Bound Traffic Closure:

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC) announced the upcoming installation of a second primary inspection lane within the Canada plaza at the Whirlpool-Rapids International Bridge crossing.

This construction project will close traffic to all Canada-bound vehicles and is scheduled to commence on September 2, 2014 and conclude on or before October 9. During that time, traffic will be re-routed to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

whirlpool bridge

Whirlpool bridge

“NEXUS traffic at the Whirlpool Bridge has exploded, with a 250% increase in usage over the last five years,” said Niagara Falls Bridge Commission General Manager Lew Holloway.

“The installation of an additional inspection lane on the Canada-side of the border will provide Canada Border Services Agency with the processing capacity necessary to keep NEXUS card holders moving and ensure that the benefits of trusted travel are fully realized.”

Renovation of Existing Canadian Plaza Rainbow Bridge Bus Inspection Facility:

The renovation of the Rainbow Bridge Canada plaza bus processing facility will begin on August 18 and is expected to wrap-up in May 2015.

The project will encompass a series of infrastructure improvements and enhancements, including:

  • the addition of new floors and processing space
  • exterior canopy modifications
  • relocation of existing boilers
  • shifting of the Canada-bound Currency Exchange
  • additional parking capacity

During construction, the Rainbow Bridge Canada plaza will have temporary bus inspection facilities.

While United States-bound bus traffic is not expected to be impacted, Canada-bound buses and motor coaches are advised to consider utilizing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge for all trips over the duration of the construction project, as the bridge offers state-of-the-art bus and motor coach processing capabilities for Canada-bound traffic.

Niagara Falls Bridge Commission Introduces E-ZPass® Toll Program at
Rainbow, Whirlpool, and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge Crossings:

ezpass logo aug 6 blogThe Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC) announced the upcoming introduction of the E-ZPass program at the Rainbow, Whirlpool, and Lewiston-Queenston international bridge spans, which will begin accepting E-ZPass toll payments later this summer.

This popular electronic toll payment option will supplement the existing ExpressPass, Commercial ExpressPass, and NEXUS/Toll card offerings currently available to motorists at the Commission’s three Canadian-American border crossings.

Note: Non-commercial autos with ExpressPass, NEXUS/Toll and E-ZPass tags are eligible to receive a toll discount at all NFBC crossings.  Motorists may purchase E-ZPass tags may be purchased at NFBC currency exchanges or here by clicking on the “electronic toll” tab.

For further details and more information about these announcements, please visit the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

As we know, the more impediments there are to crossing the border, the less people want to take the trip.

The projects detailed above represent big steps in the right direction towards promoting and encouraging cross-border travel.

Planning your next trip to Canada? Read my previous blog for tips on how to expedite your next trip across the border.

image_print
Share!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn