In a last-minute deal struck Wednesday
morning, the Department of Defense agreed to continue funding Michigan National
Guard troops stationed at the state's border crossings with Canada for
at least one more month. The troops were sent to ease traffic snarls.
Without the funding, the soldiers would
have left their posts at midnight Wednesday.
In the days following the Sept. 11
attacks, heightened security at the state's border crossings caused delays
of 12 to 15 hours for those waiting to cross. Gov. John Engler quickly assigned
National Guard troops to help move vehicles across the border.
The extension averts, at least temporarily,
the prospect of dramatically longer delays at Michigan's crossings into
Canada. A return to post-Sept. 11 wait times had politicians and business
owners scrambling for federal funding right up until the extension was granted.
Under the agreement, Michigan will reportedly pick up the $8,100 a day for
the 54 guards and be reimbursed by the Defense Department at the end of November.