Higgins Announces Completion of Phase I Pre-Inspection Pilot Project at U.S. / Canada Border
Jan 6, 2014
Phase II to Begin Soon at Peace Bridge
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced completion of the first phase of a pilot project to streamline traffic and the flow of goods across the border between the United States and Canada. Phase II will begin soon at the Peace Bridge.
“The success of phase one provides evidence that through this coordinated bi-national partnership we can more efficiently move people and vehicles across our shared border,” said Congressman Higgins. “We look forward to the beginning of this process at the Peace Bridge and the significant value it will bring to the interconnected economies of our Country generally and the Western New York region specifically.”
The “Beyond the Border” agreement between the United States and Canada called for, among other things, better coordination at land border crossings between the two countries. 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.
In a February 2012 committee hearing with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Congressman Higgins pushed for the Peace Bridge to be included in the pilot project to study pre-inspection at the Northern Border.
CBP recently announced the completion of the first phase of the pilot project and found the concept to be “feasible.” They will soon begin Phase II which will take place at the Peace Bridge crossing between Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario. The pre-inspection pilot at the Peace Bridge may be in effect for up to a year and according to CBP “will test the ability of the pre-inspection process to reduce wait times and border congestion – streamlining the flow of cross-border trade that is vital to both country’s economies.”
In Washington, DC, Higgins recently met with representatives from CBP where he learned wait times at the Peace Bridge have nearly doubled in the last year. Subsequently, Higgins and Rep. Chris Collins sent a letter to the CBP Acting Commissioner calling for staffing shortages at the bridges to be alleviated.
Congressman Higgins is a member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs serves on the US-Canada Interparliamentary Exchange and Northern Border Caucus. His district covers portions of the border between Western New York and Ontario including the Peace Bridge.