WASHINGTON—Four U.S. senators are urging the Obama administration to swiftly greenlight a new customs and immigration facility at Montreal’s Central Station, a move that would vastly improve rail service between Montreal, New York City, the state of Vermont and Washington, D.C.
The facility would be staffed by both American and Canadian agents who would screen passengers traveling to and from the U.S.
“The economic links between Canada and the states of Vermont and New York are vital, and there is great potential to make them stronger still,” said New York democrats Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Vermont democrat Patrick Leahy, and Bernie Sanders, an Vermont independent in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Janet Napolitano, the U.S. homeland security czar.
“A smoother customs experience in Montreal will spur job creation and economic opportunities on both sides of the border,” they said.
The senators are pushing federal negotiators to quickly reach an agreement that would dramatically improve service on Amtrak’s Adirondack line and represent the first step in restoring service between the U.S. capital region and Montreal.
Officials on both sides of the border have been discussing such an initiative for years.
St. Albans, Vt., about 25 kilometres from the Canada-U.S. border, is now the final stop of Amtrak’s so-called Vermonter train.
The passenger coach runs daily from the town to and from Washington, D.C., and various stops in between, including New York City. The Vermonter used to continue to Montreal until Amtrak discontinued the service in 1995.
The Adirondack service, meantime, connecting Montreal and New York, takes at least 11 hours, including delays of as long as two hours as agents come aboard the train at the Canada-U.S. border to screen passengers.