BigNews.Biz - Dec 23,2016 - ‘The Year Closes On A High Note For Vermont’s Transportation Future’ -- Leahy-Authored Bill To Facilitate Preclearance Travel Operations In Canada Is Signed Into Law
. . . Thursday News Conference In Burlington Spotlights Removal Of The Largest Hurdle For Swifter Cross-Border Air and Rail Travel Between Vermont and Canada
BURLINGTON – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was joined Thursday by federal and state officials, representatives of Amtrak, Porter Airlines and local chamber of commerce officials at the Burlington International Airport to mark the enactment of the Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act.
The legislation, unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate in the last day of this year’s session, was signed into law by President Obama on December 16th. Leahy penned the legislation earlier this year, which is needed to facilitate air travel – and eventually, passenger rail service – between Burlington and Canadian cities, and between other U.S. and Canadian destinations.
The new law paves the way for expansion of preclearance facilities, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, at land, rail, marine and air ports of departure in Canada, easing travel and commerce between the two countries. The event Thursday coincided with Porter Airlines first seasonal flight between Toronto City Airport and Burlington International. Toronto City Airport is a possible future preclearance site in Canada.
The Leahy-led bill promotes two key national goals: enhancing U.S. national security, and increasing efficiency for travelers and commercial exchanges. Leahy has long advocated improving cross-border travel and was the driving force behind this effort, forging the bipartisan and bicameral coalition and guiding its passage through the Senate.
Leahy said: “Vermonters regularly talk to me about improving the travel experience between Canada and the United States. As we welcome the first Porter Airlines flight between Toronto and Burlington for the winter season, it’s great to be able to celebrate the progress we have made this year. We still have more work to do, but with President Obama signing this into law, we removed the biggest hurdle standing in the way of improved air and rail travel between our countries. This year is closing on a high note for Vermont’s transportation future.”
Customs and Border Protection Boston Field Office Director Ferrara said: “This agreement marks an important step in enhancing security in the aviation, land, rail and maritime environments with a dual benefit of facilitating legitimate travel between the U.S. and Canada.”
Porter Airlines President and CEO Robert Deluce said: “The longstanding and successful preclearance system in Canada will be enhanced with implementation of this legislation. Porter Airlines is pleased that our main operating base at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has been prioritized as an early addition to the program. Preclearance at Billy Bishop Airport will allow Porter to operate more effectively on our many existing U.S. routes, while also opening the door to serving new U.S. destinations. Burlington, Vt., is among Porter’s current seasonal routes that can benefit by providing an even simpler entry point to the state. Senator Leahy is a