Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Binational accord a bright day for Blue Water Bridge

by Candice Miller on December 12, 2011

Time Herald
The border agreement reached by President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the best news we have had for the Blue Water Bridge in a decade.
As chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, I have had hearings highlighting the need for the administration to put a stronger focus on changes to facilitate trade across our borders, lower wait times for those who cross the border and to make the infrastructure investments needed to achieve these goals. I am hopeful this agreement will help us to accomplish all of these goals.
This new cross-border plan correctly identifies the need to improve our infrastructure at the border. Particularly, the strategy calls for coordinating border infrastructure investments and identifies the Blue Water Bridge as a priority that will free up the needed federal resources so we can complete the long overdue Blue Water Bridge Plaza project.
I am very encouraged the president singled out the automotive and agriculture industries as priorities in developing this plan. This again signals the emphasis placed on the Blue Water Bridge because of the great amount of trade in both those industries which cross the bridge every day.
It is vital to our economy and jobs that these goals be achieved and I will continue to conduct the appropriate oversight to make certain we achieve success. Many of these elements can be put in place quickly so we can increase the control of our border while improving the overall traffic flow.
Canada is our nation’s No.1 trading partner and many manufacturing operations in both the United States and Canada are dependent upon the timely delivery of goods across the border. In addition, our agriculture sector is dependent on quick access to markets on each side of the border and the changes outlined in the agreement will help streamline the process to allow farmers to reach their customers in a quick and efficient manner.
I also believe the Blue Water Bridge should be used as a test site for many of the pilot programs being created by this plan. I have long contended that the Blue Water Bridge offers a perfect artery for a pre-inspection and pre-clearance system to facilitate trade.
This agreement contemplates just such a plan, and I will work forcefully to make certain those manufacturers who transit goods across the Blue Water Bridge will have access to just such a system.
I am pleased this deal calls for increased information sharing for the entry and exit of our travelers. My subcommittee has looked closely at the visa overstay problem which represent nearly 40% of the illegal aliens in our nation.
It is my hope the additional information sharing outlined in this plan will contribute to a more robust entry/exit system as recommended by the 9/11 Commission that will help us better identify those who have violated the terms of their visa so that appropriate action can be taken.
The people of Port Huron and the job creators that transit goods across the border have been waiting far too long to streamline operations on the Blue Water Bridge and for the construction of the new plaza.
Today, I believe we are beginning to see the light at the end of this long tunnel and I truly believe that light is a bright new future for the Blue Water Bridge and for our entire region.

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