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Old 04-20-2013, 04:52 PM   #1
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Homeland Security proposing a fee to enter the US by land

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The U.S. government is proposing to charge a new fee for every vehicle or pedestrian crossing the U.S.-Canada border — an idea that has prompted fierce objections from New York lawmakers who claim the levy would stifle transboundary commerce and undermine recent efforts to ease the flow of people and goods between the two countries.

The Canadian government, too, is raising alarms about the proposal, with an embassy spokesman in Washington telling the Buffalo News that “we’re confident that any study would conclude that the considerable economic damage any fee would do would greatly outweigh any revenue generated.”

The issue flared on Friday in the U.S. after Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democratic congressman from Buffalo, N.Y., drew attention to an item buried deeply in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposed 2014 budget, released last week by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Exactly how and where such a fee would be collected, whether it would focus on those entering or leaving the U.S. — or both — and how much each crossing might cost each traveller have not been determined.

But Higgins slammed the fee idea as “the absolute last thing we should be doing” at a time when both the U.S. and Canada are working to streamline cross-border movements, even as the countries’ respective border-security regimes aim to strengthen monitoring and enforcement along the 8,900-kilometre binational frontier.

Higgins has also suggested that a crossing fee at the Canada-U.S. border would be used to unfairly “subsidize” the more expensive and challenging security operations required along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Department of Homeland Security budget blueprint 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 northern and southwest borders of the United States.”

The study, to be completed within nine months, would explore “the feasibility of collecting from existing operators on the land border such as bridge commissions, toll operators, commercial passenger bus, and commercial passenger rail.”

It would also identify the investments necessary to collect the fee “at land ports of entry where existing capability is not present,” and probe whether there are “any legal and regulatory impediments to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee.”

In a written statement about the proposed budget, submitted by Napolitano ahead of her appearance last week at the House of Representatives homeland security committee, she said her department needed to find fresh revenue streams through fees to hire new border guards and to support increasingly expensive operations at international crossing points.

“Processing the more than 350 million travellers annually provides nearly $150 billion in economic stimulus, yet the fees that support these operations have not been adjusted in many cases for more than a decade,” Napolitano stated. “As the complexity of our operations continues to expand, the gap between fee collections and the operations they support is growing, and the number of workforce hours fees support decreases each year.”


Fees for various types of inspections, such as agricultural products and other commercial goods, are already charged at the U.S.-Canada border. Toll booths also generate significant revenues from regular travellers crossing the border, with the funds typically used to support the maintenance of roads, bridges, checkpoints and other infrastructure along the boundary.

Airline passengers in both countries also pay security levies on top of their ticket prices. In Canada, those charges amount to about $15 per round-trip domestic flight and can reach beyond $25 for international flights.

Previous U.S. government proposals to generate more income from transboundary travellers have been shouted down loudly by politicians in northern states. And the latest idea, though still only at the study stage, is also drawing fire.

“I was shocked to see a proposal for a new toll at the Northern Border and I will fight to put the brakes on this short-sighted fee,” Higgins said in a statement urging the federal agency to withdraw the proposal.

In a letter to Napolitano, Higgins further laid out the case against what he called “additional fees” that might be assessed on visitors “crossing into the United States,” which “would set a disturbing precedent on an already burdened public.”

He told Napolitano: “My district in Western New York is home to five international border crossings — three for automobiles and two for rail. Traffic crossing the border is an enormous component of our economy.”

Higgins said the “economic integration” of Western New York and southern Ontario “will define our region economically over the coming decades,” and even said the existence of the NFL football team Buffalo Bills and NHL hockey team Buffalo Sabres depends on “the growing ticket-buying base of Greater Toronto.”

Cross-border consumers from Canada are “also the reason why we have low-cost air carriers, thriving shopping malls and stable cultural institutions,” Higgins wrote to Napolitano. “I actively oppose this proposal to study any new fees and I urge you to do so as well. At a time when we are looking to increase economic activity at our Northern Border, we should not be authorizing proposals that would do the reverse.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, another Democrat from New York, told the Buffalo News that he would strongly oppose any new fees or fee hikes at border crossings.

“A secure and efficient border crossing is the lifeblood of the Western New York economy, and seeking to slap travellers here with onerous fees is a bad idea,” he said. “We don’t need a study to tell us that.”
Homeland Security wants to charge fee for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Yeah, I doubt this will pass
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Old 04-20-2013, 04:58 PM   #2
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Non-Canadians already have to pay. Last time I went down with my ex (Korean), we got waved in and she had to pay $6.

Meh. Governments gotta pay bills. It's not like we won't save more than $6 shopping down South anyways.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:12 PM   #3
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I guess the Americans are trying to take advantage of the number of Canadians who do cross-border shopping. Definitely don't see this passing, and even if this were to pass I wouldn't be surprised to still see many Canadians head across the border.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:12 PM   #4
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Wow, that will really slow down the border economy on their side I imagine
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:01 PM   #5
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Wow, that will really slow down the border economy on their side I imagine
No it won't, not significant - ur already savings over $100 plus each time u go down, $5 or $10 fee - still saving $90 plus...
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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I guess the Americans are trying to take advantage of the number of Canadians who do cross-border shopping. Definitely don't see this passing, and even if this were to pass I wouldn't be surprised to still see many Canadians head across the border.
yeah I agree. The Department of Homeland Security is out to screw the cross-border shoppers.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:31 PM   #7
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No it won't, not significant - ur already savings over $100 plus each time u go down, $5 or $10 fee - still saving $90 plus...
Or not... I go down regularly for gas or to pick up one or two packages I bought on ebay or whatever. Not saving $100. Yeah, maybe if you go down for the day to shop a load of stuff but if this happens I will likely stop going down for those packages and just buy in Canada.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:32 PM   #8
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Or not... I go down regularly for gas or to pick up one or two packages I bought on ebay or whatever. Not saving $100. Yeah, maybe if you go down for the day to shop a load of stuff but if this happens I will likely stop going down for those packages and just buy in Canada.
If you're taking that much time to go down but only save $5 picking up packages and gas...Man, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:16 PM   #9
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but you forget we a lot of asian

pay 6 dolla every person, so almost firty dolla each time.
no no no, too much money i cannot afford we stay home today




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Old 04-20-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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Or not... I go down regularly for gas or to pick up one or two packages I bought on ebay or whatever. Not saving $100. Yeah, maybe if you go down for the day to shop a load of stuff but if this happens I will likely stop going down for those packages and just buy in Canada.
I do the same (in tsawwassen each weekend), if I had to pay a fee, I'd just go down less often and up the size of my purchases/trip

As humans we are one of the best species at adapting to our surroundings, don't think this one will be hard to adapt to.

I say bring it on - the US needs the money, this is just a tax that will start to level the US - Canadian shopping playing ground, we already pay these 'taxes' up here in one form or another (hence why everything is more here), so rather than having ppl complain about this 'tax' - we should question why we're ok with living with these 'taxes' locally... If you know what I'm saying
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:41 PM   #11
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meh i'd pay, no problem. As long as it doesn't hurt their business and our business - that's more what i'd be worried about. Fees seem to always be an excuse to jack up random things for me, which i had no idea would even be affected by something like this, but are
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:11 PM   #12
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it's just an idea from the US government. I don't think it'll ever pass as a law.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:15 PM   #13
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but you forget we a lot of asian

pay 6 dolla every person, so almost firty dolla each time.
no no no, too much money i cannot afford we stay home today




i can already imagine my parents saying that
totally read that in a chinese accent
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:49 PM   #14
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This is a good deterrent to lessen the load on the border crossings due to all the layoffs. Very smart actually since the fee is cheap enough that its still worth going down.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:21 AM   #15
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^ Exactly. If each Canadian paying $6 per head to cross each time provides enough justification to keep a few hundred American border guards across the country employed, this is still a win-win in my opinion. It's the lineups to cross that are the issue in my mind, not saving $45 instead of $60.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #16
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if thats the case americans should pay $6 per head on the way up to Canada to pay for our border guards as well.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #17
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if thats the case americans should pay $6 per head on the way up to Canada to pay for our border guards as well.
We already have a problem with a dwindling tourism industry due to the weak american economy/dollar. No need to make it worse.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:48 AM   #18
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:57 AM   #19
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if thats the case americans should pay $6 per head on the way up to Canada to pay for our border guards as well.
Ya, let's retaliate, that'll be great for our already crap tourism industry (due, in large part to our strong dollar) - your response is one of a 5 year old... So I wouldn't be surprised if our politicians think the same way (kinda joking)

This is actually one of the starting points for a major arguement against import tariffs - but that conversation is a totally different kettle of fish
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:04 AM   #20
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I do the same (in tsawwassen each weekend), if I had to pay a fee, I'd just go down less often and up the size of my purchases/trip

As humans we are one of the best species at adapting to our surroundings, don't think this one will be hard to adapt to.

I say bring it on - the US needs the money, this is just a tax that will start to level the US - Canadian shopping playing ground, we already pay these 'taxes' up here in one form or another (hence why everything is more here), so rather than having ppl complain about this 'tax' - we should question why we're ok with living with these 'taxes' locally... If you know what I'm saying
In that case I'm proposing a tax to fund my gas consumption since I need the money. You seem pretty eager to fund the needy, so hook it up bro.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:09 AM   #21
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may be it'll be waived/reduced fee for Nexus passholders?

Think about the people living in Windsor and Detroit...some work/go to school across the border on a daily basis.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:24 AM   #22
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In that case I'm proposing a tax to fund my gas consumption since I need the money. You seem pretty eager to fund the needy, so hook it up bro.
How u got that conclusion is amazing, I'm a staunch fiscal conservative, the needy needs to work harder to pay for their wants and needs.

My whole point is that our government taxes the shit out of us already, we don't complain, but when the US even start to talk about introducing a tax to level the supply/demand playing field, ppl will start to be up in arms.

The US is there to look after their own people, and rightfully so - Canadians are taking advantage of a strong cdn dollar buy doing a lot of shopping in the US, why not make them pay a premium for that privilege, especially when the US government needs the funds to pay for border guards who 'police' entrants to their great nation? (And if u disagree that their nation is great, then I hope ur not a cross border shopper, bc that would be two faced)
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:54 AM   #23
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may be it'll be waived/reduced fee for Nexus passholders?

Think about the people living in Windsor and Detroit...some work/go to school across the border on a daily basis.
Not much different then paying a toll on one of our bridges because you pay there and back. If they put a fee in, would only be one way.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:29 PM   #24
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As it stands, I rarely go cross-border shopping, just for the sheer inconvenience. When I do, it's to pick up heavily discounted goods (ie: online purchases, car parts) and I combine it with a trip to get a lot of groceries and gas.

Even for those who live close to the border and can just hop over to fill up, the addition of a toll might not make it worth the extra trouble.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:54 PM   #25
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How u got that conclusion is amazing, I'm a staunch fiscal conservative, the needy needs to work harder to pay for their wants and needs.

My whole point is that our government taxes the shit out of us already, we don't complain, but when the US even start to talk about introducing a tax to level the supply/demand playing field, ppl will start to be up in arms.

The US is there to look after their own people, and rightfully so - Canadians are taking advantage of a strong cdn dollar buy doing a lot of shopping in the US, why not make them pay a premium for that privilege, especially when the US government needs the funds to pay for border guards who 'police' entrants to their great nation? (And if u disagree that their nation is great, then I hope ur not a cross border shopper, bc that would be two faced)
It always strikes me as amusing that "Fiscal conservative" seems to now translate to "Cut everything I disapprove of!" rather than "Pay for everything we've got, and make sure everything we've got is what we need!"
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