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 ...

Virk shuffled to new job after Kwantlen flap
 
Province okays transit tax referendum question, with some tweaks
 
Burnaby RCMP seek MVA witnesses
Initial assessment finds mother unfit to stand trial: defence
 
RCMP seeks public help in solving arson
 
Large tree taken down in 7 hours
Mission business donates hundreds of toys to Christmas Bureau
 
Door-to-door mail service being eliminated in Mission
 
Planned park-in on 72 Avenue cancelled

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

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

Dec 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.