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Higgins asks Canada to increase border staffing to reduce delays


Thu, Sep 8th 2016 03:30 pm

Congressman & Canada's ambassador to the US have productive discussion toward improving border efficiency

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, said he is encouraged that progress will be made to address staffing issues on the border between the U.S. and Canada following today's Northern Border Caucus meeting in Washington, D.C., with Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton. Prior to the meeting with the entire caucus, the congressman and the ambassador met briefly and discussed the specific staffing and the resulting traffic problems at the Niagara River crossings.

Higgins, who serves as co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and is a member of the House committees on homeland security and foreign affairs, previously led a letter requesting increased U.S. staff levels, which were later implemented along the U.S./Canada border. However, in recent months, Canada Border Services Agency staffing shortages have contributed to lengthy delays for motorists crossing at the Peace Bridge and other international crossings.

"Full and adequate staffing on both sides of the border is essential to alleviating bottlenecks and encouraging a welcoming cross-border exchange that feeds our binational economies," Higgins said.

He discussed the staffing issue at the Northern Border Caucus meeting and followed up his verbal conversation with MacNaughton with a letter supporting continued collaboration between the U.S. and Canada consistent with the goals included in the "Beyond the Border initiative" and, specifically, the need to address Canadian staffing levels.

Higgins' Western New York district borders Canada and includes four international crossings between the neighboring countries. Higgins is a vocal advocate on efforts to improve border efficiency, including support for the recent truck cargo pre-inspection pilot project and the need for continued infrastructure investments, including the Peace Bridge Plaza Gateway project (currently under construction).

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