Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand: Improving Border Crossing Is Low Hanging Fruit In Effort To Speed Up Train Travel

Jul 10, 2009

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced
senate passage of legislation they are co-sponsoring, along with
Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, written by Senator Bernie Sanders,
requiring the Department of Homeland Security to do an in-depth
examination of their processes for screening travelers crossing the
U.S. Canadian border by rail.  Currently the process takes up to an
hour or more, significantly increasing the time to get to places like
Toronto and Montreal by rail.  Schumer and Gillibrand said that as the
country tries to develop high speed rail as an alternative to travel on
crowded roads and planes, reducing the time to cross the border is low hanging fruit.

an era when we are trying to increase the speed of train travel, it is
ridiculous that people still have to wait at the border for hours,”
said Schumer.  “The Department of Homeland Security should be working
as hard as it can to speed up the process, while still ensuring that
both Canadians and American’s are safe.  Those efforts would lead to
increased travel, increased commerce, increased tourism and more
dollars for both sides of the border.”

can’t let bureaucracy stand in the way of people getting where they
need to be in a timely manner,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This
commonsense legislation will put the Department of Homeland Security to
work to speed up this process. As we work to get the economy back on
track, we need to be able to rely on our rail lines to get people,
goods and services where they need to be on time, while ensuring the
safety of travelers and our rail infrastructure. I will continue
working with Senator Schumer to make sure this problem is getting

and Gillibrand’s legislation was introduced as an amendment to the
Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, that passed the
Senate last night.  The amendment would require the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) to do an in-depth examination of their
processes for screening travelers crossing the U.S.-Canadian border in
to Ontario and Quebec.  It builds upon the earlier efforts of the
Congress in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9-11 Commission Act
to reduce delays of passenger trains, improve trip time and better
on-time performance.  DHS would indicate specifically what steps would
need be taken to improve screenings on both current and possible future
rail routes while keeping our border secure.  The affected Northeastern
states, the Canadian government, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad
Administration would all be involved in this comprehensive examination
of improving cross-border rail travel in the region.

House has already passed their version of the DHS appropriation bill,
and the legislation will now go to conference committee and then to the
President for his signature.