DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is urging his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide additional funding in year-end appropriations legislation to facilitate secure and efficient international commerce at Michigan’s Blue Water and Gordie Howe Bridges, two of our nation’s busiest border crossings. Approximately 300,000 people and $910 million in trade cross the Northern Border every day, representing the largest bilateral flow of goods and people in the world.
“Michigan is home to some of our nation’s busiest ports of entry, and we need efficient and reliable technology to better secure trade and travel,” said Senator Peters. “Local communities in Michigan rely on international trade and it is vital that cargo and passengers crossing Michigan’s border are processed quickly and securely.”
In a letter, Peters requested funding to upgrade infrastructure at ports of entry, including the completion of the customs plaza at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan. He also pressed for funding for updated inspection and screening systems for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which would support faster, more effective examinations of cargo and passengers.
As Ranking Member of the Senate’s main border security committee, Peters has long supported commonsense, bipartisan efforts to strengthen border security and protect national security. Last month, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved Peters’ bill to authorize the hiring of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and the livelihood of farmers from harmful pests and diseases, invasive species and illegal goods that arrive at our borders. Earlier this year, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced Peters’ bill to address personnel shortages at ports of entry in Michigan and across the country to help facilitate secure trade and travel. Earlier this month, Peters’ committee also advanced bipartisan legislation to close staffing gaps at the United States Border Patrol to further safeguard America’s borders.
Text of the letter is copied below and available here:
November 21, 2019
The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito The Honorable John Tester
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Homeland Security
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building 128 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Capito and Ranking Member Tester:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your distinguished leadership. I would also like to thank you for supporting many of my priorities in the FY 2020 Senate Homeland Security appropriations bill.
As you work to resolve Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations and begin conference discussions with your counterparts in the House of Representatives, I wanted to emphasize the importance of securing our borders while also ensuring the safe and efficient passage of law-abiding people and goods. In particular, I respectfully request your continued support of the below requests.
- CBP Office of Field Operations Facilities Improvements. This request of $22,364,000 focuses on funding the modernization of infrastructure at ports of entry, such as the customs plaza at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan. This bridge is one of the five busiest port crossings in North America and carries tens of millions of dollars of commerce per day. Completion of that and similar projects are essential for local communities and the regional economies along both our Northern and Southern borders.
- CBP Operations and Support: Gordie Howe International Bridge. This request of $15 million for procurement of inspection and screening systems for the Gordie Howe International Bridge will allow for faster, more effective examinations of cargo and passengers when it is completed. The Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide a vital new connection between the United States and Canada, and this technology is necessary to both secure our nation and enhance the flow of commerce. In addition, I ask you to consider providing $5 million for acquisition of land border integration systems for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Thank you for your consideration of these requests. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), I appreciate the opportunity to continue working with you to strengthen homeland security and ensure effective use of taxpayer dollars, both at the Department and across the federal government.