If nothing else, the stimulus-paid upgrades to U.S. border crossings are making for some lively conversation this summer.
Just a few weeks ago, we had the Vermont farm family that fought the Feds’ plan to seize 10 acres of the family’s land to make improvements to the Morses Line station on the Quebec border. The family won its battle when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dropped the project and announced it would shut the border station rather than prolong the fight. That decision brought howls of protest from residents who suddenly faced the prospect of traveling another 30 to 45 minutes to cross the border.
And now we have the Whitetail border crossing in Montana, which was about $1.2 million into its scheduled $8.5 million upgrade this week when the Canada Border Services Agency announced it was shutting down its side of the crossing next April because it serves just five travelers per day.
So unless one of the countries changes plans, come April travelers from Canada ought to be able to pass through a nicely refurbished port of entry to the United States, while travelers from the United States will have to go 17 more miles to cross the line into Canada.
And at least one of the countries may change plans as a result of this awkward situation.
A spokesman for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who helped get $23.5 million in stimulus money committed for five border projects in his state, said the senator will be talking about the situation with residents near the Whitetail crossing and with Canadian officials, according to an Associated Press account.
What’s next? Who knows? But I fully expect the rest of that $8.5 million in stimulus money committed to Whitetail to stay inside The Treasure State.
Tom Fetters is a copy editor at The Daily Reporter. He never leaves home without a passport.