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Public Policy Agenda - Great Lakes Metro Chamber Coalition

A 21st century border with Canada

GLMCC supports creation of a 21st century northern border with Canada that balances national security with economic security through identifying and accelerating projects and technologies that will enhance the movement of both goods and people.

The federal government should distinguish northern border issues from southern border issues. Nowhere are border crossing issues more important than between the world’s two largest trading partners, the U.S. and Canada. Every day, thousands of people and $1.75 billion of goods traverse the borders of the two countries.

The issues on the northern border are different from the southern border. U.S. and Canadian business interests are vitally concerned with the efficient movement of employees, visitors, and freight back and forth across the border. This is not an issue of illegal immigration. This is an issue of trade and economic prosperity. The federal government must balance the need for national security with the need for economic security, which is in fact, in the national security interest. The advantages of this new, textured approach will accrue to the economic performance of the Great Lakes region.


The federal approach should integrate policy, technology and procedures to deliver outcomes that will result in the efficient movement of people and goods across the northern border with no more than a fifteen-minute wait, the just-in-time standard. Examples of actions which will help meet that standard are streamlining existing programs and regulations to further improve uptake among individual and commercial crossers. Programs that facilitate the movement of trusted travelers such as CTPAT, ACE, NEXUS, PassCard and Enhanced Drivers Licenses should be expanded to as many travelers as possible.

The Chambers oppose one-size-fits-all regulations that do not take into consideration the unique needs of northern border crossings and the just-in-time delivery environment. For example, the so called “10 + 2” proposed rule would severely handicap just-in-time manufacturing by significantly delaying the movement of freight.

Federal resources for policy implementation, new technologies and new approaches at the northern borders should be part of a federal-level strategic transportation strategy that addresses the Great Lakes states’ unique and compelling transportation infrastructure needs, coupled with appropriate levels of funding. Those resources should be significantly increased, and they should be allocated according to the formula proposed by Senator Levin.

Federal policy should provide for adequate resources to deal with both long term northern border traffic trends and estimates of future growth of movements of people and freight.

The federal government should reopen binational discussions with Canada on border crossing policy, technology, procedures and infrastructure. The Obama administration should commit to continue the work and act on the recommendations of the Security and Prosperity Partnership collaborative among Canada, the United States, and Mexico.