Southbound vehicles heading into the U.S. at Blaine.

U.S. senators torpedo idea of new fee to cross border

Extra charge was proposed on land crossings into States from Canada, Mexico

U.S. law makers have scrapped a proposal to slap a new fee on Canadians crossing the border.

The Department of Homeland Security had wanted the toll applied at land crossings into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico, but the U.S. Senate judiciary committee voted  Thursday to block the idea, at least for this year.

Business leaders on both sides of the border opposed the idea, warning it could create much longer border wait time and hamper trade and commerce.

The fee on vehicles and pedestrians was proposed for further study as a way to generate new revenue for Homeland Security, which has been forced by arbitrary U.S. budget cuts to reduce customs staffing.

Bellingham Chamber of Commerce president Ken Oplinger had predicted the new border-crossing fee would never be implemented, noting similar schemes have been proposed and rejected before.

“We were pretty sure this was what the outcome was going to be,” he said, noting there was broad political opposition in the U.S., not just from border communities.

He noted the Senate vote merely blocks funding to study the idea for the next fiscal year.

“We’ll see what happens in future years,” Oplinger said. “It’s something to keep an eye on but we don’t need to worry about it for right now.”

The amount of the fee was never specified, but Canadians who go to the U.S. by air or sea already pay a $5.50 customs fee, usually built into airline ticket prices.

The Surrey Board of Trade also welcomed the decision, saying the fees would have been damaging to the economy.

While the focus today is on Canadian cross-border shoppers heading south, Oplinger noted Canada could also have lost out if the loonie falls against the U.S. dollar in the coming years.

“In 10 years who knows, the Canadian economy could be just as reliant on Americans coming north and not getting them because of the fee as well.”

Photo: Ken Oplinger

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Horgan meets with candidates Pam Alexis and Preet Rai and local citizens in Abbotsford on Wednesday afternoon. (Submitted)
NDP Leader John Hordan campaigns in Abbotsford with local candidates

Horgan meets with hopefuls Pam Alexis and Preet Rai on Wednesday afternoon

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
COVID case confirmed at Fort Langley Seniors Community

One of five new cases reported by Fraser health Authority

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read