I open the paper the other day and what do I see, "Outer Harbor Bridge choices narrowed to two." Of course the first thing that came to my mind was let's narrow it to none. There are many issues plaguing the City of Buffalo and many of it's neighboring suburbs and a bridge to the outer harbor isn't going to solve them.
I understand the practice of waterfront redevelopment in Buffalo. Fifty-years ago shortsighted city planners decided it would be a good idea to put thruways and factories along our beautiful shoreline. They took one of the area's greatest assets and commercially developed it. The bridge to the outer harbor is the bridge that's supposed to reconnect us with our waterfront and our lake.
Here's the problem, the skyway isn't going anywhere. Ultimately, the southtowns is a great place to live and you can't expect commuters to take a leisurely drive into downtown every morning. The skyway is the quick way into downtown. Also, the outer harbor is gorgeous...in July. This morning it's 19 degrees outside with a negative windchill, do you want to meet at the outer harbor for a walk? Just wait for me, I swear I'll be there...
Alaska was the symbol of pork barrel politics when they were given the funds to build their bridge to nowhere, but now Western New York has it's own version. I know people will disagree, but the skyway is the bridge that connects the city to the outer harbor. The state is investing a ton of money in redoing route 5 along Lakeshore Blvd. for what seems like the 10th time in about 20 years. Now we're going to build another bridge and let the endless road project continue?
Buffalo is busy trying to redevelop the inner harbor and Canalside. That project has been 20 years in the making. Can't the city finish one project before it moves onto another. Shouldn't they actually get a Bass Pro store built or possibly complete the Canalside vision before we focus on building a bridge to another redevelopment project?
This city is dying a slow death. We need new jobs, new companies, and a new tax base to bring us back from the brink. Though the outer harbor is a jewel, it's not going to be the cure for what ails us. Let's put the money for the bridge into something that brings business back: tax incentives, economic development, and converting brownfields into business opportunities. By Investing the money for the bridge to nowhere into projects that can truly redevelop this city, we can lead Buffalo somewhere.