The U. S. agency that handles the border crossing north of Havre announced today that summer hours will start early at the port, with Canada matching the change.
Customs and Border Protection was scheduled to announce at noon that the summer hours at the Port of Wild Horse will start Thursday, rather than the normal May 15 start date for the 8 a. m. to 9 p. m. operations.
Montana’s Sen. Max Baucus applauded the decision.
“We fought hard to make sure the extended hours would continue this year so we can get more goods and services flowing through the Port of Wild Horse and more paychecks flowing into the hands of Montana workers, ”Baucus said in a statement. “Today’s news is an important step toward supporting more Montana trade jobs, and I’m continuing to look for even more ways to make the Northern border work better for Montana business.”
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Baucus, also a Democrat, have been pushing CBP to extend the summer hours — the port is open 8 a. m. to 5 p. m. the rest of the year — after problems occurred in previous extensions of the summer hours. The Canadian side had not evenly matched the extension in trial extensions in three previous years.
Tester wrote CBP asking it to continue the pilot hour extension.
“I believe that CBP’s data is incomplete, largely because our Canadian counterparts did not extend operating hours for the full duration of this pilot project, ” Tester wrote CPB Acting Commissioner David Aguilar. “I strongly believe an extension of the current pilot project, in full coordination with our Canadian counterparts, is critical to our economic development and job creation. ”
Bear Paw Development Corp. Executive Director Paul Tuss, a member of the international Port of Wild Horse Border Committee co-chaired by Havre Mayor Tim Solomon and Medicine Hat, Alberta, Mayor Norm Boucher, was appreciative of the effort.
“Senator Tester has worked tirelessly to expand the hours of operation at the Port of Wild Horse and his efforts are paying off, ” Tuss said. “Today's announcement means more dollars flowing into the cash registers of businesses all along the Hi-Line and throughout north central Montana. ”