Canadian Trucking Alliance urges U.S. not to rush passport requirement

| Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Canadian Trucking Alliance of large motor carriers is urging U.S. officials not to charge ahead with a border initiative to require passports until a number of steps are met.

CTA Chief Executive Officer David Bradley said the backlog of passport applications is reason enough for the Bush administration to hold off on an aggressive June 2008 implementation to require passports as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Bradley said the initiative could have a negative impact on the trucking industry if the administration does not consider several points.

“The Canadian trucking industry has never stood in outright opposition to WHTI – we fully understand why the U.S. is tightening up document requirements for all modes of travel,” Bradley stated in a press release. “But at the same time, we must recognize that the economies of both countries are highly dependent on the reliable movement of trucks across the border.

“It is therefore imperative that measures adopted to implement WHTI do not negatively impact this flow. The U.S. government must take the time it needs to get this right, rather than holding itself to an arbitrary, self-imposed deadline.”

Some of the points that CTA wants the administration to consider, according to the release, are:

  • Passport backlogs in both Canada and the U.S.;
  • Backlogs for FAST and NEXUS card processing for frequent border crossings;
  • The need for field tests for all technology being employed in the travel initiative;
  • The deployment and acceptance of enhanced driver’s licenses among border provinces and states, complete with field tests;
  • A transitional enforcement plan for people who arrive at the border without a passport;
  • The acceptance of FAST cards as a passport substitute for border truckers; and
  • Implementation of an awareness and outreach program by the U.S. government.

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