Border Crossing Fee   Leave a comment

I didn’t hear about this until I caught it in a letter to the editor in the Ketchikan Daily News. Ketchikan is a tiny little fishing town in Southeast Alaska that has no road access to the outside world. If you think you’ve heard of it before, it was one of the towns involved in the infamous Gravina Bridge “to nowhere”.

I’m not in favor of government charging citizens to cross the border, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of making Kansas pay for Alaska’s border security. I’m conflicted! What do you think?

Editorial from the Ketchikan Daily News

Share the burden

It’s important to pay your way.

But the feds are asking Alaskans and others living in border states to pay for borders equally important to the whole nation.

The border-crossing fee proposal is included in the Department of Homeland Security’s 2014 budget. It is described as a feasibility study to change the federal law against such a fee.

Not only that, the people being asked to pay already are paying more to the feds this year through increased payroll withholdings.

It’s as if the Obama administration is living in the wallets and purses of Americans.

This probably doesn’t bother interior states much, but it is alarming to border states.

It means pedestrian and motor vehicles would be charged a fee to cross the borders.

It’s another blow to economic recovery. The effect will be to limit tourism and trade — shopping, dining, recreational events. It also will add to the cost — at least in parts of Alaska — of socializing across the border.

Trips through Canada — ferrying to Prince Rupert and driving to the Lower 48 — will cost more at a time when the average American is already vacationing closer to home than in decades past, mostly because of the economy. For Alaskans, that isn’t too bad; Alaska is a tourism destination.

But it does depend on the tourists coming here for its economic wellbeing.

Then, there are communities like Hyder, just 2 miles to Canada and its only highway. The Alaska Marine Highway System stopped ferry service to and from Hyder years ago. The only other transportation is small plane. Hyder residents drive into Stewart, British Columbia regularly; a fee would need to become a household budget item.

That’s not all. Nothing would prevent Canada from following the American example of instituting its own border-crossing fee. That could double the fee, unless the Canadians charge more or less. Then, there are two fees and really no guarantee either country might not come up with yet a third or a fourth for another border-related activity.

The border-crossing fee should be removed from the budget, the money allotted for it should be saved, and the department and the administration should focus on ideas that will improve the economy — not just in border states, but for the whole nation.


It makes some good points, but my gut is still conflicted. Anybody want to add to my turmoil?

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