Havre Mayor Tim Solomon was right on target when he wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking her to continue to an experiment under which hours at Wild Horse port are extended during the warm weather.
For two years, there have been some minor blunders on both sides of the border. That notwithstanding, the number of people coming through Wild Horse has increased.
The hours should be extended for the convenience of residents on both sides of the border who like or need to cross the border at various times of the day or night. Now, if someone misses the closing time by five minutes, it's a long way to the next closest port. That costs residents time and money. And it discourages people from crossing the border at all.
And, extending hours would have a definite effect on the area's economy. Both sides of the border would benefit from longer hours, though in all likelihood, the Havre economy would feel the most effect, as many Canadians enjoy shopping here.
Solomon's proposal is a good short-term answer to the the border problem, but the ultimate answer is a full 24-hour-a-day port that allows people to move back and forth when they need to — at least during warmer weather.
Later this month, people on both sides of the border will celebrate a long Thanksgiving weekend. Many Albertans start their Christmas shopping by trekking down to Havre to spend money downtown, at the mall or at the larger stores on U.S. Highway 2. But in the back of their minds, these visitors will be thinking that their time is limited, they have to rush back through the border or stay here for the night.
A 24-hour port would make it easier for our residents and it would improve the economy on the Hi-Line. This is not the greatest time to ask the federal government for more money, but this is one expenditure that would reap tremendous benefits in northern Montana.