A safe and efficient transportation is vital to the success of an economy and that includes Buffalo Niagara. Therefore, transportation and infrastructure plays a key role in the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s 2017 Advocacy Agenda. Listing out five specific priorities under this heading, we are stressing that all levels of government should make infrastructure funding and transportation initiatives a priority in order to continue the safe and efficient movement of goods, services, and people throughout the region.
To accomplish our goal, here are our advocacy priorities:
With the Buffalo Niagara region strategically located next to Canada, it is important our business community is taking advantage of the economic opportunities that exist within our bi-national region. For that reason, in 2017, we will focus its advocacy efforts on supporting the implementation of border efficiency measures that will allow the better movement of goods and people across our international border crossings. This includes the implementation of the Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act, which is a critical piece of legislation in fully executing the Beyond the Border agreement. It also includes working with the Canadian Border Services Agency to ensure they are employing adequate, appropriate staffing at its primary inspection booths entering Canada throughout the year, and working with both Canada and the United States to ensure sufficient staffing of customs agents during the Peace Bridge Rehabilitation Project.
We will continue to advocate for upgrades to New York’s aging power grid to improve reliability. Upgrades to the grid will help ensure that Buffalo Niagara’s economy can benefit from moving more locally produced electricity downstate.
Natural Gas Transmission System
Throughout 2016, New York continued to block the development of a natural gas transmission system. Most specifically, the Cuomo Administration rejected a pipeline project designed to move fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New York City, Boston, and other markets in the Northeast, and has stalled the permitted process for proposal projects. We are committed to supporting the development of New York’s natural gas transmission system to move, effectively and efficiently, gas from Pennsylvania through New York and beyond. This will keep consumer prices low and spur investment.
Last year, we successfully advocated for a federal, multiyear surface transportation bill and budget parity between the New York State Department of Transportation (Upstate) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Downstate). To continue this success, we are once again advocating for similar priorities. At the federal level, we will push for an adequate and dedicated source of funding to support transportation infrastructure projects aimed at fixing and maintaining our nation’s crumbling highways, roads, bridges and transit systems. At the state level, we will push for continued capital budget parity between Upstate and Downstate agencies to help ensure Buffalo Niagara receives its fair share of transportation infrastructure funding.
Buffalo is the largest city in the nation without access to ridesharing thanks to inaction in Albany which has only allowed ridesharing to operate in New York City. This is a black eye for Buffalo and all of Western New York. We support a regulatory framework necessary to allow ridesharing services to operate in Buffalo Niagara and all across New York State. This is an issue of job creation, road safety and economic fairness for Upstate.
The Buffalo Niagara region’s success is tied to well-designed, well-maintained, and well-funded transportation and infrastructure. We look forward to working with all of our members, elected officials and strategic partners to accomplish as many of these priorities as possible.
Want to learn more about our 2017 Advocacy Agenda? Click here for the full length version of our Agenda or contact the Government Affairs team.