The ports of Wild Horse will not have extended hours this summer, and that is disappointing to people on both sides of the border who have worked hard to see that it will be easier for people to cross the U.S.-Canadian border.
The immediate impact will be felt in the economies in both Montana and Alberta.
Beyond that, it will make it harder for Montanans and Albertans to be able to visit their neighbors.
A test effort was launched this year, but it proved to be a boondoggle when Canada didn't mirror the U.S. hours, making it difficult for people on both sides to plan their trips. Eventually the problem was solved, but it took sometime for word to get out. Just the same, the number of people crossing the border at Wild Horse increased.
The only real test will be a port that is open 24 hours per day. That will enable motorists to cross the border without having to worry that the gates will be closed before they return.
Canadians find it virtually impossible to come to Havre for a meal and a show because the port will be closed by the time they return.
But in the short run, extended hours are helpful to the economies on both sides.
Retail businesses — both downtown and at the stores west of town — report increased Canadian trade in recent months. Gas stations see more Canadian customers.
Beyond the business aspect, everyday residents of Montana and Alberta suffer because they cannot visit neighbors and friends across the border.
So, now we are back to square one. Some political leaders in Montana and Alberta promise to keep fighting.
Montana and Alberta are remote areas that sometimes lack political clout. But some essential political leaders, including Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., promise to keep up the fight.
People on the Hi-Line have learned that sometimes they have to create a ruckus if they want to be heard in Washington. We have just begun to fight.