Keeping a watchful eve on the border: highlights of Chamber advocacy on border issues.

Author:Berry, Claudia
Position:Government Relations - Detroit Regional Chamber - Conference news
 
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The Detroit Regional Chamber remains vigilant to continue the recent progress made to improve passenger ft freight traffic across our Michigan/Ontario Border. Approximately $1.1 billion in goods cross between the U.S. and Canada everyday. With over 40 percent of that trade occurring at our crossings in Detroit ft Port Huron, the Detroit-Windsor border is the busiest trade corridor in North America. This volume of trade is integral to strategic planning efforts designed to expand economic development and job growth in Southeast Michigan.

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Traffic Flow Improving

The summer of 2007 began with major delays at our border crossings but ended with mobilization of the business community demanding relief. The Blue Water Bridge experienced the greatest challenges with long backups for both passenger and truck traffic. The backups represent more than delays, but lost job productivity, declining recreational and tourism activity, decreased travel safety, and the higher costs of bringing consumer goods to market. The Chamber advocated for changes in the deployment of staffing, improved traffic management practices, expanded trusted traveler programs, new technology upgrades, and improved public outreach--all which have combined to help ease traffic congestion at our Michigan-Ontario borders.

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Homeland Security Reception

The Chamber hosted a reception for U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) during their annual meeting last spring in Detroit. The reception was attended by over thirty Field Directors and other CBP Senior Leaders from across the country, including their Assistant Commissioner Thomas Winkowski. The event marked the first time this influential group met in Detroit for their annual meeting to discuss border trade and security. Field directors are often the first line of contact for employers who are experiencing delays in clearance of their goods across the border. The Chamber routinely meets with the staff of the Detroit Field Office to identify issues or concerns for the business community, suggest recommendations and encourage ongoing dialogue and communication.

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Enhanced Drivers License

The Detroit Regional Chamber supports federal legislation enacted in early 2008 to help ease the flow of border traffic. Since late 2005, the Chamber has played a key leadership role as part of a national coalition known as BESTT (Business for Economic Security, Trade & Tourism) that...

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