Budget cuts would impact border wait times



SARNIA, Ont. — Blue Water Bridge Canada officials are closely monitoring news out of Washington about looming “sequester” budget cuts and their potential impact at the southern Ontario border crossing.

The Washington Post has reported that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department would take a $754-million hit from the budget cuts set to begin Friday, unless politicians in the U.S. capital reach a deal.

Overtime pay would be cut at the borders and agents furloughed up to 14 days this year, potentially causing delays for travellers and goods at the border crossings, according to the Post.

Stan Korosec, vice-president of operations for the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, said U.S. officials have been in contact “to make us aware of what’s going on and how it may impact all the border crossings.”

Korosec said it’s difficult to predict if bridge travellers will face longer waits to enter Michigan in the days ahead.

“It really depends on what the politicians are going to do over in the U.S.,” he said.

“I’m told there may not be any immediate impacts, but as it goes along there certainly could be.”

Nearly 160,000 cars travelled over the bridge into Michigan in November, up from 146,000 during the same month in 2011.

The peak season for traffic on the bridge begins in May and continues through the summer.

“Hopefully, they get this thing settled for the sake of all the travellers and for the economy,” Korosec said.

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