Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 18, 2013

Higgins says NYPA should pay $120 million to support parkway removal plans

Niagara Gazette — U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins wants the New York Power Authority to pay for the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway.

Using the Niagara Gorge as a backdrop while standing in front of an elevated section of the parkway near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, the Buffalo Democrat, whose Congressional district now includes the city of Niagara Falls, announced plans Thursday to seek $120 million from the power authority to finance removal efforts along the northern and southern parkway sections.

Higgins described the “poorly utilized roadway” as both a physical and economic barrier to the “renaissance” of Niagara Falls while suggesting that the authority should pay for the implementation of community-based removal plans. 

“We believe that will unleash the extraordinary potential of Niagara Falls, N.Y. as a great waterfront city drawing those millions of people who visit Niagara Falls, Canada every single year,” Higgins said. 

Higgins outlined his proposal in a 14-page plan called “The Niagara Falls Waterfront: NYPA’s Responsibility for the Robert Moses Parkway.” The plan includes historical information about the roadway, the authority’s role in its development and data on authority revenues. He delivered a copy of his proposal to NYPA Chairman John Koelmel on Thursday. 

The congressman said the authority evicted residents through eminent domain and built the highway that now stands as a barrier between the city and the water. As a result, he believes the authority should pay to remove the road and rebuild the area.

A spokesperson from the power authority declined to comment on Higgins’ plan, but later sent out a two-sentence statement.

“We just received Congressman Higgins’ letter on the Robert Moses Parkway and will review it,” the statement said. “We will respond in a timely manner and will continue to have an open dialogue with the congressman as we have in the past.”

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