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Peters seeks funding for customs plazas in Michigan

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — As Congress sets its spending priorities this week, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, is seeking a budget reserve for future spending authorization at customs plazas and ports of entry.

If approved, the amendment would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund in the federal budget that may be used for construction or increased staffing at ports of entry, such as the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron — which is awaiting an expanded customs plaza — and the new U.S.-Canada crossing planned at Detroit-Windsor.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Peters urged his colleagues to support the amendment, noting Canada is the United States’ largest export market, top customer and “closest ally.”

“Existing infrastructure at our ports of entry often do not allow for the most efficient processing of trucks and cargo,” he said. “We have two major crossings — in Detroit with Windsor, Canada, as well as Port Huron with Sarnia. Both those trade areas need additional investment in their customs plazas to efficiently handle the trade between our two countries.”

Peters said the measure would promote increased exports and travel by updating airports, seaports and border crossings, and adjust staffing so that tourists and merchandise are screened safely and efficiently.

mburke@detroitnews.com