Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, offered the following statement Tuesday:
"Today marks the start of the long-awaited pre-inspection pilot project at the Peace Bridge. This is a critical step toward improving the flow of people and goods across the northern border and revolutionizing Western New York's economic future.
"Every year, the bridge facilitates the transport of over $30 billion in commerce across the Niagara River, spurring $227.4 billion in economic activity, and supporting 1 million jobs. As both Western New Yorkers and Canadians alike become accustomed to reliable access at the border, our economic relationship will only continue to grow."
In the most recent "Beyond the Border" agreement between U.S. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper, one of the action items outlined was better joint border coordination.
In response to this, U.S. Customs and Border Protection created a pilot program to pre-inspect trucks coming into the U.S. in Canada. Phase one of the pre-inspection pilot was recently and successfully completed at the border crossing between Blaine, Wash., and Surry, British Columbia.
In a February 2012 committee hearing with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Higgins pushed for the Peace Bridge to be included in the pilot project to study pre-inspection at the northern border.
Higgins is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. As a representative of the Western New York community adjacent to Southern Ontario, including the Peace Bridge, he is particularly focused on northern border issues, serving as a member of the Northern Border Caucus and the U.S. Canada Interparlementary Exchange.