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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Canada-U.S. border-crossing talks end

    Posted on Thu, Apr. 26, 2007
    Canada-U.S. border-crossing talks end
    By CAROLYN THOMPSON
    Associated Press Writer

    Plans to improve traffic flow at one of the nation's busiest border crossings fell through Wednesday when Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff ended more than two years of talks with Canada.

    The plan would have moved U.S. Customs inspectors from their side of the Peace Bridge to Canadian soil. The impasse came because the United States would have had to give up critical inspection tools to comply with Canadian civil rights rules, a Homeland Security spokesman said.

    The United States would no longer have been able to fingerprint travelers who approached the bridge but decided not to cross, spokesman Russ Knocke said. Canada allows only those being charged with a crime to be fingerprinted.

    "That's a vital authority that we're simply not willing to surrender," Knocke said.

    U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat who has championed the Shared Border Management plan as a way to relieve costly commercial traffic back-ups, said she would turn to the White House to try to keep the idea alive.

    Hopes ran high after that plan was announced by both countries in December 2004 that the plan, which also would allow Canadian inspectors to work on U.S. soil, would be implemented at other busy crossings.

    "If the administration decides to stay with their decision, that will shut down that potential," Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said.

    The Peace Bridge, between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario, is the third-busiest commercial crossing and second-busiest passenger vehicle crossing along the northern border, handling $20 billion of trade annually between the United States and Canada.

    Congestion blamed on infrastructure constraints and heightened post-9/11 security cost both countries billions of dollars a year, Slaughter said.

    If all inspections took place on the roomier Canadian side, cars and trucks would be able to flow without stopping toward the New York State Thruway after crossing the Niagara River into Buffalo.

    It was unclear Wednesday whether the development would affect plans for construction of a new, larger Peace Bridge to replace the existing three-lane span.

    http://www.kentucky.com/513/story/53156.html
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    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    AH, I see the NAFTA super highway coming to light in this little tale!!
    I was born at night but it wasn't last night Chertoff!
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