Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
More money from the federal economic stimulus program is coming to the state, with up to $77 million set for upgrades to border ports including the Port of Wild Horse north of Havre. The announcement from Montana's senators came in the midst of a push to equalize extended hours and upgrade the status of the Wild Horse port. The money will be used to refurbish, remodel or rebuild the facilities at the ports of entry into Canada. Wild Horse and the Port of Scobey, Port of Del Bonita, Port of Morgan and Port of Whitetail will each get a share of the $77 million, with Wild Horse set to receive $15,869,565. The exact amount used will depend on the bids and final contracts awarded for the projects, Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester said in a press release. The money will come in addition to the nearly $1 billion already coming to Montana through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which they call the Jobs Bill, Baucus and Tester said. “This is good news for all of Montana and especially for communities across the northern tier,” Sen. Max Baucus said in a press release. “I helped write the Jobs Bill because it’s a smart way to create good-paying jobs and turn our economy around, and I’m glad to see that funding is going to good projects like ports of entry along our northern border.” The announcement came a day after a committee asking that Wild Horse be upgraded to a 24-hour comMercial port sent a letter to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan asking that Canada match an extension of summer hours at the port, or at least put up signage letting people know about the U.S. hours. The port now is open limited hours, 8 a. m. to 5 p.m. in the winter and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer, and is open to commercial traffic by permit only. Havre Mayor Bob Rice, who cochairs the Wild Horse Border Committee with former Medicine Hat, Alberta, Mayor Garth Vallely, said Friday that the committee wants Canada to match the U.S. hours, now operating with summer hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. from March 1 through Oct. 31. Rice added that, “we still want the 24-hour port.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced last fall that it was extending the summer hours, formerly used from May 15 to Sept. 30. The April 15-dated letter sent by the committee said its members are encouraged by the United States extending its hours, but “we are bitterly discouraged that the Canadian Border Services Agency has not matched their generous increase and heightened our disappointment by not even changing the signs.” Tester, at the request of the Wild Horse Border Committee, has sponsored legislation in the Senate directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to upgrade Wild Horse to a 24-hour commercial port. The press release said he and Baucus urged Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to upgrade the port. “This is another reason I supported and voted for the Jobs Bill,” Tester said. “Investing in these ports strengthens our homeland security and increases our commercial opportunities on the Hi-Line. “This will pay off for generations to come by creating new jobs and opportunities that will benefit all of Montana,” Tester added.