Canada and the United States announce first-ever binational border infrastructure investment plan

OTTAWA, May 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, along with Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, and Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, released today the first-ever joint Canada-United States Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP).  The development and release of this initiative fulfills a commitment made under the 2011 Canada-United States Beyond the Border Action Plan.

"Modern border crossings are essential to the efficient flow of trade and travellers, which is why the Border Infrastructure Investment Plan and the collaborative relationship with our American neighbours are so important," said Minister Lebel. "Our government is investing in border crossings, ports and gateways to reduce wait times, increase trade and create jobs."

"This first, joint U.S.-Canada binational plan shows that our collaborative approach to border planning, which includes feedback from our local partners, will serve both of our countries well and ensures that we are working together on our common interests," said Secretary LaHood.

The BIIP is an interagency and binational planning mechanism developed to establish a mutual understanding of recent, ongoing and potential border infrastructure investments.  It outlines the approach that Canada and the United States will take to coordinate plans for physical infrastructure upgrades at small and remote ports of entry.  This initiative will be updated and disseminated annually.

"Our two governments are committed to enhancing our mutual security and economic prosperity through significant investments at key crossings," said Minister Toews. "These investments will reduce border delays, expedite trade across our shared border, and allow the Canada Border Services Agency to focus on facilitating the flow of low-risk people and goods while keeping the border open to legitimate trade and travel."

"An integrated, bilateral approach to border investment is critical to both the U.S. and Canadian economies," said DHS Secretary Napolitano. "The BIIP offers enhanced security along our shared U.S.-Canadian border, while reducing wait times at major border crossings—increasing the flow of traffic across the border while ensuring safe and secure trade and travel."

The BIIP, along with other initiatives under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, is designed to benefit the integrated economies of Canada and the United States, which depend on the fluid movement of commercial and non-commercial traffic across our shared border.  Its release follows recent announcements by the Government of Canada of significant investments at four initial priority land ports of entry identified by Canada in the Action Plan: Lacolle, Quebec; Lansdowne, Ontario (Thousand Islands Bridge); Emerson, Manitoba; and North Portal, Saskatchewan. The modernization of major border crossings will reduce wait times, increase reliability of just-in-time shipments, and decrease fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  Canada and the United States enjoy the world's largest trading partnership, with two-way merchandise trade totalling $570 billion in 2012.

In addition, the Government of Canada announced, in July 2012, the installation of technology to measure and report border wait times at the Peace and Queenston-Lewiston Bridges. The $1.7-million project was completed in partnership with United States Customs and Border Protection, the United States Federal Highway Administration and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Further information on the Beyond the Border Action Plan is available at www.dhs.gov/beyond-the-border and www.actionplan.gc.ca/border.

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Marie-Josée Paquette
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Ottawa
613-991-0700

Julie Carmichael
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
613-991-2924

Press Office
U.S. Department of Transportation
202-366-4570

Press Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
202-282-8010

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
media@ps-sp.gc.ca


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