Murkowski Rips Border Crossing Fee Proposal

Senator Urges Appropriations Committee to Block Crossing Fee Study, DHS to Reconsider Idea

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Lisa Murkowski today voiced her concerns over the wide range of harmful consequences Alaska and other border states would suffer if a proposed border-crossing fee becomes a reality for vehicle and even pedestrian traffic – from restricting tourism and trade to greatly limiting access to shopping, dining, and attending religious service.  She shared these scenarios in a letter to both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well as the ranking members of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

With the DHS 2014 budget including a ‘feasibility study’ to change long-standing federal law against a border-fee, Senator Murkowski wrote to Subcommittee Chair Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Ranking Republican Dan Coats (R-IN) to explain some of the overnight changes Alaska and our Canadian neighbors would be forced to deal with:

For many border community residents, crossing the border is a way of life in order to access essential services, travel to their jobs, to shop and dine, to attend church, and to visit family and friends.  Many American communities and businesses along the northern and southwestern border rely on trade and tourism to power their economies. A decrease in tourism and travel would have a detrimental impact on these border communities and hinder current and future economic relationships between the U.S. and its neighbors.

Senator Murkowski closed the letter by requesting the Senate Appropriations Committee bar the use of DHS funds to conduct the border fee study in its FY14 appropriations bill.

In a second letter, Senator Murkowski joined more of her Senate colleagues in bringing this issue directly to Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, pointing out the illogic of spending money on a plan that will cost the nation’s border communities money – and have a lasting, negative impact on their way of life.  The letter concludes:

We believe the department should focus on pro-growth policies, not a study that will expend taxpayer dollars on a proposal that would hinder economic development. With this in mind, we urge you to reconsider pursuit of this proposal. We thank you for your attention on this issue and look forward to your reply.