Tonawanda News

April 27, 2013

Erie County opposes federal study on cross-border fee

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — In response to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposal to study a border crossing fee between Canada and the United States, the Erie County Legislature on Thursday unanimously backed a resolution opposing the initiative. 

Legislator Kevin Hardwick said the fee would have a significantly negative economic impact on Western New York, adding that the resolution would be sent to federal representatives to voice the county’s displeasure with the idea that could mean increased costs for motorists and pedestrians to travel to the U.S. 

“Our cross border commerce is dependent upon allowing our friends to the north the opportunity to move across our bridges quickly and cheaply so that the dollars they choose to bring over can be spent with our small business owners and shopping centers,” Hardwick said, in a statement released on Friday. “Any additional fees will only deter these customers from spending their money in Erie County.” 

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, also chimed in on the matter Thursday, stating the measure would not pass the U.S. Senate. He said he strongly opposes a study that could become a part of the 2014 budget, as the proposal suggests, stating that cross-border traffic would wane should a land-border crossing fee be established. 

Schumer also said spending by outside visitors to Western New York rose 8 percent in 2011 to $15.4 billion, with nearly 20 percent of all employment in Niagara County sustained by tourism. In 2012, Erie County collected $410 million in sales tax revenue. 

A copy of the county resolution can be found at www.erie.gov/legislature. 

To read a copy of the complete resolution, please visit the County Legislature’s website, www.erie.gov/legislature. In 2012, Erie County collected $410 million in sales tax revenue.