04.15.16

Leahy Welcomes Vermont And Canadian Officials And Business Leaders To Mark Continued Progress On Preclearance Operations That Will Facilitate Air, Rail, Water And Land Travel Between Vermont And Canada, While Strengthening Security

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt.  (FRIDAY, April 15, 2016) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday joined Vermont and Canadian officials and business leaders in Essex Junction, Vt., to mark progress on facilitating travel and commerce between Vermont and Canada.  Leahy, long an advocate for the return of the “Montrealer” rail line and easing air travel to Vermont from airports like Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, said legislation he introduced earlier this year would make important strides toward making these a reality.

Leahy said:  “Vermont and Canada are inextricably linked by heritage and history.  We want to improve the experience for travelers across our international border while maintaining necessary safeguards.  My commonsense legislation is a tangible step forward, and will result in making a real difference in the lives of American and Canadian citizens.  Many Vermonters like our family have relatives and friends on both sides of the border, and we look to our Canadian neighbors as shared partners in our economies and stewards of our communities.  Collectively, the progress announced by Prime Minister Trudeau during his visit to Washington and this legislation bring us even closer together.

Leahy introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Promoting Travel, Commerce and National Security Act in March, paving the way for more preclearance facilities operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at land, rail, marine and air ports of departure in Canada.   These facilities allow Vermonters to clear U.S. customs and immigration checks before they depart Canada, eliminating a now cumbersome process on their return.  These operations relieve congestion at U.S. airports, improve commerce, save money and provide national security benefits. 

Leahy said the train station in Essex Junction where the officials were gathered could once again welcome Canadian travelers to Vermont and become a point of departure for Vermonters visiting Montreal, facilitating cultural exchange between the  two countries.  Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner, with $85 billion in commerce between the U.S. and Quebec in the first 11 months of 2015 alone.

During his historic visit to the United States in March, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau endorsed the U.S.-Canada preclearance agreement, signaling support for Leahy’s legislation. 

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