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Higgins announces bill to prohibit border fee

by jmaloni

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Thu, Mar 19th 2015 06:25 pm

Promoting Border Commerce and Travel Act introduced 

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced the introduction of the Promoting Border Commerce and Travel Act. The bill, which was filed by Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) along with Higgins, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN), would block the establishment of a border-crossing fee for passenger vehicles and pedestrians at land ports of entry.

"Canadian passengers entering the United States support tourism, entertainment, retail, athletics and other economic drivers," Higgins said. "The implementation of a fee would only create roadblocks to opportunity in our community and our country, and should be completely off the table."

In April of 2013, Higgins led a national effort to oppose a proposed study of a northern border toll by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He worked with colleagues to block the move, questioned the Homeland security secretary about the plan and, in May of 2013, won approval of an amendment blocking the study of a new land-crossing fee at the borders.

Higgins has supported a number of efforts to improve efficiencies across the border between the U.S. and Canada, including: pre-inspection efforts, infrastructure investments to expand the plaza at the Peace Bridge and the opening of a passport office in the City of Buffalo.

The U.S. Department of Transportation states more than 59.66 million passengers in personal vehicles crossed the northern border in 2014, with the Buffalo-Niagara region topping the list with more than 11.61 passengers crossing local land ports. An additional 423,605 pedestrians crossed the northern border, with the majority of those pedestrians, 276,680 people, crossing at ports in Buffalo-Niagara Falls.

Higgins is a member of the House of Representatives committees on foreign affairs and homeland security and serves on the congressional northern border caucus and U.S.-Canada Interparliamentary Exchange. His Western New York district borders Southern Ontario and includes three automobile and two rail crossings between the U.S. and Canada.

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