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Higgins pushes for changes to expedite Amtrak's Maple Leaf Route between US & Canada


Tue, Jun 27th 2023 03:30 pm

Congressman wants centralized inspections at Niagara Falls Station in US

Congressman Brian Higgins is urging Amtrak to work with government agencies in the U.S. and Canada to “streamline the inspection process on the Maple Leaf route to allow for faster and easier travel between the two countries.”

Currently, Amtrak’s Maple Leaf route stretches from New York City to Toronto (connecting to VIA Rail Canada) with over 20 stops between the two countries. Passengers crossing the border are required to exit the train with their luggage at both the Niagara Falls, New York, station and the Niagara Falls, Ontario, station for inspections with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency. The Niagara Falls International Railway Station in New York, built in 2016, was designed to accommodate U.S. and Canadian inspections.

A Report on Amtrak Cross Border Operations, required under the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” suggests, “Consolidating the two current operations into one location would expedite border inspections, and Amtrak stands ready to facilitate the necessary discussions among the involved parties to explore such a possibility.”

In a letter to the CEO of Amtrak, Higgins is asking the company to prioritize this effort. He wrote, “With thoughtful coordination, we can reduce travel time, improve the passenger experience, increase ridership, and build stronger cross-border economies. Now is the time to get this done.”

A press release stated, “Higgins’ Western New York district includes three Amtrak stations, including the terminal in Niagara Falls. As co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, he is a vocal advocate for policies and projects that enhance the U.S.-Canada relationship.”

The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” included $66 billion for passenger and freight rail between 2022-26, including $22 billion dedicated to Amtrak.

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