Tonawanda News

Local News

January 18, 2013

Higgins: NYPA should pay to remove Robert Moses


Tonawanda News — The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is expected to reveal its recommended options for the future of the northern section later this month. A consultant working with state parks presented a total of six options for the roadway for public review, including options to leave it as is and total removal from the Falls north to Lewiston. 

The southern section has been eyed for several changes aimed at making it more pedestrian friendly and less of an obstacle to waterfront access. 

Higgins said the key to any plan is the money needed to carry it out.

Only $5 million is currently available for the south section redesign — too little to carry out the actual construction. The $120 million request by his office represented an estimate of what he believes will be needed to make the sort of progress on renewal efforts that he said the city needs and deserves. 

“This is something that’s very doable,” Higgins said. 

The Niagara Power Project in Lewiston has been key to the authority’s profitability and Higgins said more than $1 billion from the facility has been used in the past six years to fund operations elsewhere within the authority’s system. 

In 2008 alone the authority had a surplus of $309 million, of which $236 million, or 76 percent, came from the Niagara facility, according to documents from the authority. 

“We have a rightful claim to that money,” Higgins said. 

Higgins, who was instrumental in negotiating a 2007 licensing agreement between the power authority for Buffalo’s waterfront redevelopment, said he can use the relicensing of a downstate power project as leverage to get NYPA to pay for the parkway’s removal.

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