“The economic future of Western New York is increasingly tied to the free flow of people and trade across our border with Canada. From our auto manufacturing plants to our professional sports teams and our retail businesses to our airport; all benefit from our close proximity to Southern Ontario which has an estimated population of 13.4 million and is expected to grow to 17.7 over the next 24 years.
“With plans for a U.S. Department of Homeland Security pre-inspection pilot at the Peace Bridge and progress, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, to construct a new plaza we now have the federal and state governments working in unison to increase capacity and predictability at our border. Finally we have freed the Peace Bridge project from a long bureaucratic holding pattern and we are opening up the bottleneck at this binational transportation corridor that crucial to our interconnected economies.”
Congressman Higgins is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and its subcommittees on Border and Maritime Security & Counterterrorism and Intelligence. As a representative of the Western New York community adjacent to Southern Ontario, he is particularly focused on northern border issues, serving as a member of the Northern Border Caucus and the U.S. Canada Interparlementary Exchange.
Better joint border coordination was one of the items outlined in “Beyond the Borders” following a meeting between U.S. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper in February of 2011.
Below is a timeline of Congressman Higgins’ efforts and comments related to the pre-inspection pilot project:
September 28, 2011: Gillibrand, Higgins, Slaughter, and Hochul Urge U.S. Customs and Border Protection to Support Peace Bridge Customs Plaza Renovation and Pre-Inspection Concept
November 1, 2011: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner to begin the process of allowing pre-inspection at the Peace Bridge
February 15, 2012: At Homeland Security Hearing, Higgins Asks DHS Secretary to Use Peace Bridge as Location for Pre-Inspection Pilot
May 15, 2012: Higgins Sends Letter to DHS Urging that the Scope of the Pilot at the Peace Bridge be for all Commercial Traffic