Peace in, peace out at Buffalo, Fort Erie crossing

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/11/2012

U.S.-bound trucks using the Peace Bridge from Fort Erie, Ontario, to Buffalo will soon undergo a prescreening on the Canadian side, thanks to a new pilot program. Officials hope the pre-inspection program will help relieve congestion at the border bridge.

The bilateral Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority supports the inspection program, which was announced Monday, Oct. 8, by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY.

“This innovative border management solution could potentially provide real congestion relief and help us streamline the movement of goods and people at the region’s busiest international border crossing,” bridge officials stated.

Not all details of the program are public yet, but indications are that it will involve armed U.S. border personnel conducting the inspections on the Canadian side of the bridge.

Canadian border personnel are currently not armed across the board. The Canadian government launched a program in 2007 to phase in arms for its border personnel by 2016. The Canada Border Services Agency currently contracts with local law enforcement at each crossing point to serve as armed protection.

The Peace Bridge has been in operation since 1927. A commercial vehicle currently pays anywhere from $25 to $54 in tolls to get across depending on the number of axles. E-ZPass rates are typically 10 percent cheaper than cash.

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