Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
The Chamber's ongoing commitment To ease travel between the Detroit-Windsor border continues with our work on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHT1). The Detroit Regional Chamber plays a key leadership role as part of an Internationa] coalition called Business for Economic Security, Trade ft Tourism (BESTT) to advocate for changes in the proposed policy. Currently, the policy would require anyone who crosses into the U.S. to have a passport or similar document. The business community is concerned that this policy will have negative consequences for our local economy, tourism and cross-border trade. The Chamber is calling for a compromise that would allow the use of an enhanced drivers license as a valid travel document. The Detroit Regional Chamber won its first hard fought victory in September 2007 when Congress passed a 17 month extension of the implementation deadline for WHTI. Since then, the Department of Homeland Security has approved an enhanced drivers license pilot project in Washington State and is working with Michigan to ensure development of a new license that provides a secure form of identity and proof of citizenship.
State Transportation Funding
State Transportation Funding was the big concern in transportation this past year and will be for next year. In addition to a consistent gap in funding for transit and coordinated freight movement, the budgel for roads and bridges is taking a big hit. This isn't only troublesome for the state of Michigan, but also for the federal government. The Chamber is supporting a new funding stream that will change how we collect money for the road system and fund projects that improve freight movement and economic vitality.
Back Ups ft Delays at the Border
Efforts to address back ups fr delays at the border have been a top priority for the Chamber long before September 11th. The backups represent more than delays, but lost job productivity, declining recreational fit tourism activity, decreased travel safety, and higher costs of bringing consumer goods to market. Recognizing the importance of our Michigan/Ontario border to the national & stale economy, the Detroit Regional Chamber established the Northern Border for Economic Security and Trade (NBEST] to advocate for border improvements that ensure the safe, seamless and efficient flow of people and goods between two great...