Officials Celebrate New Border Crossing in Calais 

There are now three entry points between the U.S and Canada in Calais. A new one opened to traffic last week and was dedicated Monday. Officials hope it will ease congestion and help the free flow of trade with our neighbor to the north, triggering a positive economic ripple effect.”It goes beyond just Calais and St. Stephen. This border crossing is the sixth busiest border crossing along our entire border, and the busiest border crossing for all of New England,” says Senator Susan Collins.Dignitaries from both sides of the border were here to unveil the new port of entry that’s been in the works for decades.”There clearly was a need for an additional crossing,” says Thomas Winkowski, assistant commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “When you look at Milltown and you look at Ferry Point, those facilities were built in the mid-1900s and don’t meet our needs any more. It was time to get a state of the art facility here as quickly as possible.”The other crossings will stay open, but this new 50-acre facility will handle all commercial truck traffic as well as passenger vehicles. They hope long wait times and congestion for locals are over, and the future for trade– bright.”This goes beyond our border communities,” says Maine D.O.T. Commissioner David Cole. “I see the city of Bangor represented here today. This effectively pulls Bangor and St. John closer together.”Officials say in 2005, the project became a national priority along the northern border.”The biggest challenge was funding,” Collins says. “This took a tremendous effort to get the federal funds needed. It amounted to about 77 million dollars for the bridge and the building.”She says many people don’t realize Canada is our country’s biggest trading partner, or the number of jobs supported by trade.The project used Recovery Act funds, with Canada and the state of Maine contributing additional money.They say the border crossing and its state-of-the art technology is a model for others, balancing dual missions of security and efficiency.”I’ve worked so hard on this project since 2005. And I would not have missed today’s celebrations,” Collins says. “It shows what we can do when we work together.”