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Congressman Higgins Announces $700,000 in Recovery Act Funding for WNY Passport Office

May 18, 2009
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced that Western New York will receive $700,000 in Recovery Act funding to support the opening of a regional passport agency in Western New York.  Congressman Higgins and Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) first advocated for a WNY passport office in a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 26th.   Just days ago, standing near the Peace Bridge, Reps.  Higgins and Lee announced the State Department has agreed with their request and will begin the process of establishing a passport agency locally.

“Last week we had a verbal commitment to establish a passport agency in the Western New York region and today we have a financial commitment to see this project through,” said Higgins. “Congressman Lee and I both recognize a seamless flow of cross-border traffic is important to the Western New York economy and I am pleased to work with him to make this happen for local residents.” 

The Peace Bridge is the busiest passenger crossing between the US and Canada.  Beginning on June 1, 2009, travelers crossing local bridges along the northern border will be required to show a passport or other certified document providing identification and proof of citizenship. 

There are only 14 passport agencies located within the continental U.S.  It currently takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive your passport after an application is submitted.  Passport agencies can serve residents who have lost or not yet received their passport and have plans to leave the country in less than two weeks or those in need of obtaining their foreign visa in less than four weeks.