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Congressman Higgins Advocates for Increased Infrastructure Funding

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of increased funding for infrastructure.  Infrastructure investments within the United States are vital to continue to provide safe and efficient means for travel and commerce.

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Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins in Response to the 2015 State of the Union Address

“In tonight’s State of the Union Address we heard the President outline an agenda that focuses on programs that strengthen American families and invest in American workers.  In 2014 the United States added 3 million jobs, the highest job growth this nation has experienced since 1999.  Our national agenda must focus on efforts to sustain the progress we've made and increase economic opportunities moving forward.  “U.S. student loan debt is greater than $1 trillion. The cost of college is creating barriers to education and loading graduates with debt.  Community colleges can serve as a real vehicle for career advancement and a tool for workforce training.  Bringing down tuition roadblocks relieve struggling families, open up opportunities for students and add skilled workers. “Western New York is home to over two dozen higher education institutions and arguably the most dedicated workforce in the Nation.  Efforts to promote public, private and college partnerships in the advanced manufacturing industry would support projects like the solar manufacturing initiative at Riverbend and others turning economic dead zones into initiatives supporting local, quality job opportunities that fit the needs of today's economy.  "Still, while progress is being made in areas like these, we are falling short on the robust investments needed in infrastructure and medical research.  Our roads and bridges are crumbling and promising medical breakthroughs are slipping through our fingers due to lack of funding.  These issues are not Democratic or Republican issues but American issues, and they should be addressed with the thoughtful vigor and collaboration that gets results, creates jobs and builds the foundation for a better tomorrow.  “In the end, we heard and we know, that America is at its best when we come together.  We owe it to one another and future generations to do just that.”

As Peace Bridge Pilot Project Comes to a Close, Congressman Higgins Calls for Swift Review And Action on Pre-Inspection

As the pilot project to pre-inspect commercial vehicles entering the United States on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge comes to a close, Congressman Brian Higgins is pushing for a swift review followed by further action to expedite measures that allow for the efficient flow of traffic along the northern border. “This test period was a good first step but further action to expand and improve the movement of people and goods across the border is essential to the growth of the Western New York and U.S. economies,” said Congressman Higgins.  Congressman Higgins’ advocacy for the pilot project goes back to February 2012, when in a House Homeland Security hearing he pushed for the Peace Bridge to be included in a study of pre-inspection along the Northern Border.  The effort was born out of the “Beyond the Border” plan, a collaborative agreement between the United States and Canada to better coordinate border operations and expand the bi-national relationship. Phase I of a pilot project to allow for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to pre-inspect trucks coming into the United States in Canada began on June 17, 2013 at the Pacific Highway crossing between Blaine, Washington and Surry, British Columbia and concluded January 2014.  Phase II of the pilot project brought pre-inspection to the Peace Bridge early in 2014.  The effort allowed for the pre-inspection of U.S.-bound truck cargo on the Canadian side of the bridge to streamline traffic flow and provide efficiencies.  This phase is scheduled to concluded on January 20 and will be followed by an independent review to analyze the success of the program.  Congressman Higgins visited the Peace Bridge pre-inspection site with U.S. Customs & Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske on August 14, 2014.  Higgins serves as a member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs, U.S.-Canada Interparliamentary Exchange and Co-Chairs the Congressional Northern Border Caucus. Congressman Higgins is hopeful that the pilot will be proven successful and is eager to work toward legislative and budgetary adjustments to implement a permanent, full-scale pre-inspection program at the Peace Bridge.  

Dave Majewski’s Work on Urban Habitat Project Earns EPA Honors

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in presenting David Majewski with the EPA’s Environmental Quality Award.  The award is presented to those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health. Majewski was one of only 17 individuals in New York who received the 2014 award.   “Leaders have the vision to see the possibilities and roll up their sleeves to make things happen,” said Congressman Higgins, “Dave Majewski is a leader.  With the support of community organizations like the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation and Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition, partners are coming together to redefine the look and feel of our city through grassroots efforts.”  "Today we celebrate the exemplary work of David Majewski, who tirelessly protects the environment and gives of his time and energy to create a cleaner and healthier future for all of us," said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.  "His extraordinary contributions serve as an inspiration to all who strive for a more sustainable environmental future." A news release issued by the EPA cites Majewski’s work, “David Majewski has been the guiding force for the Urban Habitat Project (UHP) at the Buffalo Central Terminal. The project serves as an outdoor classroom for local youth, an opportunity for urban ecology research and a demonstration of green infrastructure to manage stormwater. The site absorbs approximately 320,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from adjacent streets and redirects it to the site via adjoining bioretention cells. The three acre project includes native plant species selected to promote soil remediation and enhance biodiversity of birds, insects and mammals.” The Urban Habitat Project is located within the grounds of Buffalo’s Central Terminal, which falls under the oversight of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation.  The project transforms previously vacant land at the Terminal into a natural environment oasis in the heart of the city.  Dave Majewski serves as ecological manager of the UHP.     Majewski, who is the Principal of SRG of Buffalo, a green infrastructure consulting business and composting operation, is also a founding member of the Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition (FCNC), a volunteer organization working on collaborative efforts along an identified project area that stretches from the Larkin District up through the Broadway-Fillmore & Genesee neighborhoods to East Utica.  The UHP is one of several success stories made possible through the efforts of the FCNC, which was formed just a few years ago.  Other green project initiatives include the placement of creatively designed public recycling bins and planning for a greenway to complement local urban farms. The Coalition’s work also involves identifying business development opportunities together with partners that include Buffalo State College, the University at Buffalo and Daemen College.  In 2013, Dave Majewski and the UHP was awarded the Nature Sanctuary Society award for Environmental Stewardship. The EPA awarded the FCNC with a $20,000 Technical Assistance Grant for Sustainable Cities, in 2013 as well.