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Bradley meets with U.S./Canada security chiefs

DETROIT, Mich. -- Outgoing U.S. secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced DHS will introduce measures to i...


DETROIT, Mich. — Outgoing U.S. secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced DHS will introduce measures to increase border efficiency at a meeting with Canadian and U.S. security chiefs Friday.<br>
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The announcement was made at a meeting in Detroit attended by CTA CEO David Bradley and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan as well as other Canadian and U.S. representatives.<br>
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At the meeting, Ridge announced his intention to see to it that DHS introduces measures to increase the efficiency of throughput at the northern border by 25 per cent over the next year. <br>
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During the meeting Bradley applauded this initiative and made specific recommendations at various crossings that in general terms would help achieve the 25 per cent target. <br>
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These included using the FAST card as the platform for other security measures in the process of being developed and implemented; ensuring the FAST enrollment process is improved; ensuring that the FAST program includes LTL and in-bond shipments; adding additional booths at specific crossings and ensuring the design of the booths makes sense; commercializing certain ports; supporting pre-clearance and publishing the Trade Act compliance rates of customs brokers.<br>
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Bradley also took direct aim at the lack of meaningful and long overdue action to accelerate infrastructure improvements across the border in Windsor. Although the recent introduction of additional truck booths southbound at the Ambassador Bridge has been of significant benefit, said Bradley, trucks still have to deal with Huron Church Rd. and with trade expected to grow, the relief may be short-lived. <br>
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Bradley also expressed concern over the lack of an alternative to the Ambassador Bridge in the event of a terrorist action. <br>
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While pressure is mounting for interim action on improved infrastructure to commence immediately, McLellan stated that by the end of 2006, the governments will have decided which long-term alternative crossing option will be built.<br>
The two governments announced that the pre-clearance pilot at the Buffalo-Fort-Erie Peace Bridge will proceed as well as at one other border crossing. The pre-clearance pilot at the Peace Bridge will involve the re-location of all U.S. primary and secondary operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. At the second pilot site, Canadian border functions will be moved to the U.S. <br>
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Reached sooner than most observers thought was possible, the agreement by governments on a pre-clearance pilot is one that the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations jointly championed.<br>
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