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OTA responds to possible Windsor shutdown

TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says Windsor's plan to hold trucks in a pre-clearance area...

TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says Windsor’s plan to hold trucks in a pre-clearance area would do nothing to eliminate backups.

Windsor Mayor Mike Hurst is demanding the federal and provincial governments help relieve the backlog of traffic on city roads approaching the Ambassador Bridge, and has suggested creating truck holding areas as a possible interim solution.

OTA has responded by saying that while it sympathizes with the city’s woes, a truck holding area would not solve the backups, as most of the delays are being caused by U.S. Customs inspections, and by sheer volume of traffic.

In a letter to Windsor Mayor Mike Hurst, OTA President David Bradley writes, “While I recognize the difficulties being created by the truck traffic on the City’s road system, and certainly agree that you are being forced to deal with a situation that should rightly be dealt with by the senior levels of government, I have serious concerns over the practicality and effectiveness of some of your more recent proposals. For example, implementing truck bans on various routes within the city would not only have an adverse impact on Canada-U.S. trade, but also on Windsor’s local economy.”

Bradley went on to tell the Mayor that, “Trucking companies and their drivers are frustrated, too. They are only trying to do their jobs and have not created the situation that has plagued Windsor in recent years.”

In letters to both Queen’s Park and Ottawa, Bradley urged both senior levels of government to act immediately to help Windsor, saying, “Urgent action is required to protect and improve Canada’s most important trade route to the U.S.”

Bradley adds he is encouraged by an agreement announced last week by Deputy Prime Minister John Manley and U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge that would see a customs pre-clearance model adopted by Canada and the U.S.

Bradley cautioned this will take time and still won’t solve the Huron Church Road problems, but that it is an important step in speeding trade.

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