ANCHORAGE, Alaska — B.C. is calling on the federal government, other provinces and US states, to press forward with enhanced drivers licences that can serve as alternatives to passports at border crossings.
Ease of border travel is vital to families, communities and economies on both sides of the border, and we must work together to strengthen security and keep legitimate trade and travel moving between our two countries, said Premier Gordon Campbell at the 2007 summit of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region in Anchorage, Alaska.
Under existing US rules, beginning as early as January 2008, all US citizens and foreign nationals will be required to present a passport or other documents that show identity and citizenship when entering the States by land or sea.
Were working closely with the federal government to develop the plan to test an enhanced drivers licence as a solution that meets the high security standards set by both federal governments and keeps legitimate traffic moving smoothly, said B.C. Intergovernmental Relations Minister John van Dongen. We aim to begin the first phase of our project in January 2008.
In December 2005, Campbell and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire co-signed a letter to President Bush and Prime Minister Harper, expressing concerns about the impact of these new travel requirements on cross-border tourism.
In June 2006, Washington and B.C. began collaboration to put a project in place that will lead to the enhanced drivers licence.
Washington State and B.C. have worked closely to lead the establishment of enhanced driver licenses, Washington director of licensing Liz Luce said. It’s convenient, it’s secure and it’s cost effective. Best of all it provides an option for our citizens.
Founded in 1991, Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) is a public-private bipartisan partnership whose members include B.C., Alberta, the Yukon, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
PNWERs annual summits attract approximately 400 participants, including ministers and legislators from member jurisdictions, business organizations and private-sector industry associations, and senior officials from Canadian and US governments.
Travellers on both sides of the border are confused with the reviews and adjustments to dates and required documents for different types of travel, and they are frustrated with the long wait for passports, said Jim Storie, chair of the Council of Tourism Associations.
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