Customs plaza funding a priority for Detroit congresswoman
Candice Miller will press Washington on funding decisions this week
A Michigan Congresswoman wants to understand how Washington prioritizes funding for new U.S. Customs plazas.
Harrison Township Rep. Candice Miller chairs the House Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee in Washington.
Wednesday, she'll hold a hearing to ask how the federal government prioritizes investments, in particular for infrastructure at ports of entry.
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Miller is pushing for Washington to complete a customs plaza at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Mich., across from Sarnia.
"We will examine how, in an era of very limited resources, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the General Services Administration prioritize critical infrastructure projects between our ports of entry to ensure we can maximize commerce without sacrificing security,” Miller says of the hearing on her website. "U.S. ports of entry are critical to securing our border and facilitating international trade. Therefore, infrastructure projects to improve or expand these ports often have a significant impact to our economy and national security."
Canada also expects Washington to fund a new plaza in Detroit at the cost of $250-million (all figures US).
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the General Services Administration is responsible for building customs plazas in the U.S.
Miller has called on officials from the department to testify this week and explain how projects are prioritized.
According to several reports in the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit plaza cannot go ahead until funding for the completion of the Port Huron plaza is secured. That project has been in the works for 10 years, according to the paper.
Canada has pledged to pay $1-billion for a new Detroit River International Crossing between west Windsor and the Delray community of west Detroit.
Canada has also agreed to pay for property acquisition in Detroit in an effort to get the bridge built.
However, it wants the U.S. to pay for and build a new $250-million U.S. Customs plaza in Detroit.
The funds were not earmarked in U.S. President Barack Obama's budget, revealed in March.
Instead, the budget allots $420 million for three border crossing and inspection projects:
- The Alexandria Bay Land Port of Entry in New York.
- The Calexico West Land Port of Entry in California.
- The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry in Southern California.
- A previous version of this story made it sound as if Candice Miller supports a new U.S. Customs Plaza in Detroit. Her opinion on a Detroit U.S. Customs Plaza is neutral.Jul 15, 2014 6:24 PM ET