After ordering a coffee or some pizza on their smartphones, truck drivers may soon be able to use an app on their phone to pay the $13.05 Customs and Border Protection user fee for entering into the U.S. at the Peace Bridge.
The move is designed to cut congestion at the popular border crossing where truck operators who do not have an annual user fee decal must fork over cold hard cash. That process, according to the US Department of Homeland Security, is taking a bit too long.
According to Homeland Security’s latest budget documents, the current manual collection process “results in increased wait times and fuel costs for carriers and loss of work hours for CBP.”
An automated system could cut processing times by as much as 6.5%, the department estimates.
The budget document claims, for example, that at the Port of Buffalo in 2015, approximately 1,700 work hours were spent performing cash collections, with each commercial truck inspection taking an average of 80 – 90 seconds per vehicle. User fee collections for 2015 in the Port of Buffalo were approximately $774,000, the document states. This equates to approximately 72,000 collections (7.6% of commercial trucks).
“Our Western New York economy relies on the efficient flow of goods and people across our international border but constrained infrastructure combined with outdated technology is choking opportunity,” said Brian Higgins, Congressman, N.Y. “This project, set for implementation in Buffalo this year, is yet another way for us to build efficiency and predictability at the border.”
Buffalo is one of three expected locations for the pilot project.