News

U.S. shutdown not expected to cause border gridlock

Southbound drivers heading across the border into Blaine beside the Peace Arch.  - File
Southbound drivers heading across the border into Blaine beside the Peace Arch.
— image credit: File

Bellingham business leaders don't expect a partial shutdown of the U.S. government that began Tuesday to cause major slowdowns for cross-border travellers, at least not immediately.

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to approve a spending bill to keep government operating in a bid to dismantle the health insurance reforms led by President Obama.

The move has forced non-critical departments to largely shut down.

Bellingham Chamber of Commerce interim executive director Bill Gorman said the effect on Canadians heading south across the border will depend on how many – if any – U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff are deemed non-essential and cease work.

He expects regular traffic over the border won't feel any difference, but travellers needing to get a visa or make other applications could face longer waits.

"If it goes on for a while it will have a ripple effect because things will back up," he said.

Gorman was optimistic the political standoff could end quickly.

U.S. border offices are already running on reduced hours as a result of a previous budgetary dispute in Congress that began in March.

Gorman noted that hasn't caused any major trouble at the borders or lost revenue for Bellingham retailers, adding business remains strong.

If anything, he said, the May 23 collapse of the Skagit River bridge on Interstate 5 actually provided a net lift for Whatcom Country merchants, because it made it more difficult for visitors from B.C. to drive further south for several weeks.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Green MLA Weaver to seek leadership
 
Highway 1 split a preview of Port Mann Bridge local lanes
 
Protesters seek limits on payday lenders
Legendary skater Toller Cranston dead at 65
 
New program boosts technology and agriculture in Mission
 
Police look for help in finding suspect in string of robberies
School builder to cover district costs
 
Coming in from the cold
 
Court date set for mother

Community Events, January 2015

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Jan 28 edition online now. Browse the archives.