Southbound drivers heading across the border into Blaine beside the Peace Arch.

U.S. shutdown not expected to cause border gridlock

Dispute in Congress stems from Obama health reform

Bellingham business leaders don’t expect a partial shutdown of the U.S. government that began Tuesday to cause major slowdowns for cross-border travellers, at least not immediately.

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to approve a spending bill to keep government operating in a bid to dismantle the health insurance reforms led by President Obama.

The move has forced non-critical departments to largely shut down.

Bellingham Chamber of Commerce interim executive director Bill Gorman said the effect on Canadians heading south across the border will depend on how many – if any – U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff are deemed non-essential and cease work.

He expects regular traffic over the border won’t feel any difference, but travellers needing to get a visa or make other applications could face longer waits.

“If it goes on for a while it will have a ripple effect because things will back up,” he said.

Gorman was optimistic the political standoff could end quickly.

U.S. border offices are already running on reduced hours as a result of a previous budgetary dispute in Congress that began in March.

Gorman noted that hasn’t caused any major trouble at the borders or lost revenue for Bellingham retailers, adding business remains strong.

If anything, he said, the May 23 collapse of the Skagit River bridge on Interstate 5 actually provided a net lift for Whatcom Country merchants, because it made it more difficult for visitors from B.C. to drive further south for several weeks.

Just Posted

Family of South Surrey stabbing victim to make public appeal

Paul Prestbakmo died in the early morning hours of Aug. 16

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Bose Corn Maze set to open in Surrey field cut with Scouts Canada logo

Operators of the attraction are celebrating their 20th season this year

Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘level playing field’ for taxi industry, ride hailing

SBOT pleased to see B.C. set no municipal boundaries for ride hailing, calls for same in taxi industry

Surrey date for Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy on ‘Age of Fools’ tour of Canada

Bell theatre date on Just For Laughs-presented tour of Canada

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

Border agents carry out raid at Hastings Racecourse

Dozens were spoken to, witnesses say

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. mom mourns 14-year-old son whose fatal overdose was posted online

Chantell Griffiths misses the son she hadn’t seen much in recent years

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read