Be more like Canada.
To be fair, Republican Congressman Chris Collins did not say that exactly Tuesday, but largely it is what he meant.
To make truck travel back and forth across the US-Canada border faster, Collins and Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins have petitioned the US Department of Homeland Security to make customs changes that bring practices in-line with what Canada does.
According to the US State Department figures, some $1.8 billion of goods passes through the border everyday. Most of that is by truck.
But Canada requires two things from big-rigs, the US side does not.
Truck toll payments in Canada have to be made electronically, either with an on-board E-Z-Pass-like transponder or through an electronic pre-payment.
The US side still takes cash or credit card. The toll on the Peace Bridge is $13.05. An estimated 90% of trucks entering America make some form of electronic payment, but when they don't, customs agents have to collect payment and that slows down traffic.
“22 trucks on the bridge stops the bridge traffic, so, we’ve got to keep those trucks moving,” says Collins.
Empty trucks entering the US can cause similar problems.
Canada requires all trucks entering its country to file and electronic manifest, even empty trucks. Trucks hauling nothing are one of every six coming into the US. But they are not required to file an e-manifest when crossing into America. That results in a customs officer key-stroking data into the computer system that and empty truck is coming into the country.
Collins says requiring all US-bound tractor-trailers to pay tolls electronically and file e-manifests move trucks through faster. Staffers for Collins say to make that change, Customs and Border Protections would merely have to re-write its regulations.