Recent talks of the U.S. government’s interest in imposing a fee on passenger vehicles and pedestrians crossing the Canadian and Mexican land borders has generated heated discussions.
The latest budget request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought funds to study the cost of collecting a new “toll” from people walking and driving into the U.S. Not much is known about exactly what the fee would entail and it is unclear if it would be charged on traffic entering or leaving the U.S. Also, unknown is whether border agents or independent toll-takers would collect this potential new fee.
Both Canadian and NY lawmakers have indicated their opposition to any proposal, asserting that a fee would dissuade cross-border business transactions, discourage cross-border travel, and that the economic damage would outweigh any revenues generated. They also implied that fees collected on the northern border would unfairly subsidize the government’s more expensive security operations on the Mexican border.
A fee of this sort wouldn’t be the first one imposed by DHS – airline passengers in the U.S. already pay a similar $2.50 fee on all ticket prices. At this point, while the proposal is only at the level of “conducting a study,” proponents against the fee may have a hard case to make in light of ongoing security concerns and the government’s shrinking budget.
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