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Collins, Higgins support measures to reduce 'unnecessary delays' at border

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Fri, Jul 21st 2017 11:15 am
Congressmen Chris Collins and Brian Higgins sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan urging them to implement protocols that would reduce processing times at the northern border for commercial vehicles. A recent evaluation of existing programs found two protocols that would reduce processing times for trucks crossing the border, require all empty trucks to report via e-manifest and modernize the collection of the port of entry user fee.
"Our border is vital to the economic well-being of Western New York, and I support any steps to address the cause of delays and to find workable solutions," Collins said Thursday. "These recommended, common-sense reforms would free up resources to make the flow of traffic and goods over the border more efficient."
"The economies of Western New York and Southern Ontario are interconnected, and delays on our bridge crossings mean stalled economic opportunity," Higgins said. "These changes, which can be implemented quickly, are important steps in a comprehensive approach to improve northern border efficiency."
"Most people understand that congestion at international crossings, particularly truck congestion, is primarily due to customs procedures," said Ron Rienas, general manager of the Peace Bridge Authority. "These common-sense regulatory fixes should be implemented as soon as possible. Having customs officers collecting cash and manually inputting manifest data does nothing to enhance national security."
Since 2007, e-manifests have been a requirement for all trucks crossing the northern border at a land port of entry, except for those with empty containers. It is estimated one in six trucks (amounting to approximately 1 million in 2016) crossing the border had an empty container. CBP officers must manually process data for trucks crossing the border without an e-manifest, adding an additional 75 seconds per truck.
Trucks paying the port-of-entry user fees by transponder or by pre-paying can be processed up to 90 seconds faster than if paying by cash or credit card. At the Peace Bridge, approximately 10 percent of trucks pay by cash or credit card.
Officials said modernizing these protocols will lessen delays so that the U.S. and Canada can continue to share a robust economy. Collins and Higgins are supportive of implementing these procedures and urge CBP to look for additional fixes that will lessen border delays.
For a copy of the letter, click HERE.

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