BUFFALO, N.Y. - New York's labyrinth of authorities are widely decried as shadow governments that shield their activities from public scrutiny. But they are a model of transparency compared to the Public Bridge Authority that operates the Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo and Fort Erie, Investigative Post has found.
Authorities and other governmental bodies on both sides of the border are obligated to release records in accordance with freedom of information laws in their respective countries. But the Public Bridge Authority, seeking to exploit its status as an international entity, contends it is not bound to the disclosure laws of either country and has adopted policies that give it wide latitude to reject information requests.
For example, federal, state and local governments in both the U.S. and Canada are obligated to disclose who works for them and how much they are paid. But the Public Bridge Authority rejected an information request from Investigative Post that sought the names, job titles and earnings of their 95 employees.
Likewise, governments on both sides of the border are obligated to provide details on how they spend money through disclosure of their annual operating budget. But when Investigative Post requested the authority's most detailed budget document to show how it spends the $33 million it takes in annually, officials would provide only a two-page summary.
WEB EXTRA: Continue reading about the Public Bridge Authority by logging onto the Investigative Post site
Watch Jim Heaney's report in the video player at the top of this page
Watch Jim's complete interview with the general manager of the Peace Bridge Authority by clicking on the video on the side of this page.