MASSENA - Changes may be headed north as the Massena Village Board agreed to draft a resolution opposing a proposal to impose a border crossing fee on people entering the United States on foot or in a vehicle.
Mayor James F. Hidy told his fellow board members Tuesday evening that municipal officials in other border communities had asked Massena to join their effort in opposing the proposal to impose a border fee.
I have before us a resolution in conjunction with the cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (They) propose a resolution that would oppose the fee crossing at the border, and both municipalities jointly accepted a resolution and they had asked that the village of Massena and the city of Cornwall also enter into the joint agreement, Mr. Hidy said. The city of Cornwall has passed a resolution opposing the fee for border crossing, submitted it to Homeland Security along with several of our federal, state, and local elected officials as well as on the Ontario and the Canadian sector. So I would ask that (the board) would support this resolution.
In May, Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, introduced an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill to bar them from using any funding provided under the bill to study or implement border crossing fees for passenger vehicles pedestrians at both the northern and southern border.
I think (the resolution) was one of the key points of a couple of visits that Owens had both on the Canadian and American side. He too opposed any fee that would be imposed upon the people passing that border, Mr. Hidy said.
The Department of Homeland Securitys budget for the fiscal year 2014 proposes to conduct a study assessing the feasibility and cost relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee for both land border pedestrians and passenger vehicles along the Canada/U.S. International Border.
According to the resolution approved by Cornwall, Ont., City Council, close to 2 million vehicles a year crossed the border at Cornwall in 2012.
The resolution states, The Canadian/United States economic relationship is one of the largest in the world with trade in goods and services between the two countries at 128 ports of entry totalled $645 billion in 2010, or more than $1.6 billion each day; and ... border fees will have a negative impact by reducing border crossings of Canadian and American visitors to Ontario and New York state over the Three Nations Crossing/Seaway bridge, which is used by more passenger vehicles than any other crossing in Northern New York state.