Montana bill would expand hours of Turner port of entry

| 1/13/2009

A Montana state lawmaker has offered a measure for consideration that would urge 24-hour operation for the Turner port of entry on state Highway 241.

The port of entry located 12 miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border now is open seven days a week. From Sept. 16 to May 31 each year, the facility is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. From June 1 to Sept. 15, the facility extends its hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sen. Ken Hansen, D-Harlem, introduced a non-binding resolution that would make the Turner facility available throughout the day. Hansen wrote in the measure that the change is needed because there is only one 24-hour commercial entry on the state’s border with Canada.

Hansen touts the advantages of expanding hours at the Turner facility. Those advantages include addressing an escalating amount of commercial traffic that serves the oil sands region in Canada and the new oil fields in the Bakken formation in Montana and also focusing on “other commercial opportunities” in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.

Also highlighted in the measure is the need to make the facility available 24 hours a day to accommodate the development of the trade corridor from Saskatchewan to Billings, MT, and Interstate 90.

The resolution – SJ6 – is awaiting consideration in the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Montana in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor