Schumer Visits Falls to Push Pre-Clearance on Cross-Border Rail Travel

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By: Tony Farina

Calling it “a match made in heaven,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) came to Niagara Falls on Monday to urge the Canadian government to implement pre-clearance at the new Niagara Falls International Train Station for rail travelers seeking to enter Canada via Amtrak.

Schumer, joined by new Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino, called on Canadian authorities to get on board in setting up the pre-clearance for travelers which has been authorized by legislation on both sides of the border.

The goal, said Shumer, “is regular, dynamic commuter rail service,” and all that’s missing is action by Canadian authorities to allow that to happen, and he said he expects progress on that final step to be accomplished in the near future.

Schumer and the late Rep. Louise Slaughter led the way for construction of the train station and it was designed to accommodate the pre-clearance program as a state-of-the-art pre-clearance facility.

New York’s senior senator said the ability for travelers to pass through customs would be a remarkable convenience for anyone seeking to travel between the U. S. and Canada on Amtrak’s Maple Leaf train.


United States Senator Chuck Schumer and Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino.


As things stand now, passengers traveling across the border to Canada must disembark in a less secure and uncovered space in Ontario for a customs check after just having boarded the train in the U. S.

Schumer called the pre-clearance expansion agreement between the U. S. and Canada agreed to last summer a good first step but that to unlock the full economy-boosting potential of the new, multi-modal train station, the agreement must be fully implemented.

He blamed the delay on what he called “bureaucratic inertia,” but says he hopes Canadian officials will get it done now that the Canadian elections are over.

Mayor Restaino praised Schumer’s efforts to get the expansion agreement together and said he looks forward to the pre-clearance implementation to help spur development on both sides of the border and help to strengthen the WNY-to-Toronto bi-national connection.

On another subject, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Schumer, the Senate Democratic minority leader, said he expects the trial to begin this week.  


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