Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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More booths might come to U.S. border

by Candice Miller on May 31, 2011

Customs inspection idea is in ‘conceptual stage’
Times Herald
Six temporary customs inspection booths could be coming to the Michigan side of the Blue Water Bridge.
But it’s uncertain exactly when, or if, drivers coming from Canada will reap the benefits.
Stan Korosec, vice president of operations for Blue Water Bridge Canada, said his agency, the Michigan Department of Transportation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are partnering on the project.
He said MDOT is working on the design to make sure booths would “fit functionally both from a traffic point of view and from CBP’s operational point of view.”
But Rob Morosi, an MDOT spokesman, said the plan is in the “conceptual stage.”
“If it’s decided to pursue this opportunity, sometime next year would be the earliest we’ll see them in,” Morosi said.
The three agencies will conduct a feasibility study on the project, Morosi said. The agencies need to determine if temporary booths would provide a safe and efficient way to do inspections.
Morosi said the project would cost about $1.5 million to design, construct, deliver and install the booths. Project costs would be shared by the three agencies, he said.
But Korosec said Blue Water Bridge Canada would cover most of the costs associated with making the additional inspection booths operational.
Korosec said the current plan would add four more lanes to the 13 currently on the Michigan side of the bridge — significantly decreasing delays.
“It’s going to add some extra capacity…,” Korosec said. “This is just an interim measure until the new plaza is built.”
The Blue Water Bridge Canada originally offered to supply booths to CBP, but Korosec said the booths, which were configured for Canada customs purposes, might not meet the “exact specifications” for U.S. Customs.
Chief Ron Smith, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, said he didn’t have information on the project Friday.
Other CBP officials were not available for comment Friday.
After hearing about the feasibility study, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller said she’d have to contact MDOT and “move things along.”
“We’ve been for 10 years going through all these different alternatives … and we still haven’t done anything yet,” Miller said. “So now, here we are with something to expedite this, and now they can’t do it. They to have to have a feasibility study and wait another year? Give me a break.”
A customs representative wrote to Miller, in a
May 17 letter that work on the booths could start “immediately.”
Miller, R-Harrison Township, had called on
U.S. Customs and Border Protection to add booths — staggering them around the ones already there — after Korosec complained to a congressional panel about traffic backups. The complaints were lodged in April.

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