22 January 2007

At last! A Practical Solution to Traffic Congestion

Beginning Tuesday, Americans traveling into the US from Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean must have passports. Congress passed this new rule in 2004 in an effort to make the country safer. The problem is, only one quarter of Americans have passports.

So, what will be the impact of this? The short term effect will be Americans lined up at our borders, waiting for their paperwork to get through already overloaded government agencies. The medium term effect will be Americans discovering how affordable and relaxed life is in our neighboring countries. The long-term effect is best of all.

About 20 million Americans travel internationally each year. If some portion of them can't get back into the country, think about how much that will lessen traffic congestion. Abandoned houses will go onto the market, helping to make housing more affordable. Key employees will be lost and the demand for replacement workers will drive up wages. I would go on, but the unintended benefits of making this a safer country are beyond my ability to calculate. And here all this time I thought that congress didn't really care about quality of life issues.


Life Hiker said...

I live about 75 miles from the Canadian border, and I transit Canada about twice a year to see my kids & grandkids in Detroit.

My wife and I will soon have to pay $170 for the priviledge of being able to get back into the U.S.

You'd think my honorable discharge papers would be enough to get me back in, or at least enough to earn me a free passport.

"Fortress America" is arriving. But are the terrorists stupid enough to try entering through controlled gates? I give them more credit than that.

Our government needs to spell out how the benefits of this program exceed the heavy costs, before us ordinary citizens will get on board. Right now I think it's as useful as airport security's search of my 85 year old mother.

Eric Byers said...

Granted it's seen as a threat to our personal freedomes. However I think pretty much every other country in the world requires them to travel. Most Europeans have them, simply because they need them to travel even within the EU.

I think the biggest thing is how much money they will raise off of this. First they raise passport prices (which they did a few years ago), and then this. Bye bye defecit :).

Anonymous said...

The 9/11 terrorists did enter through controlled gates, didn't they?

Anyway, I agree that this could be a great way to reduce traffic congestion, but it will take too long. I suggest we simply reintroduce The Plague. ;o)

Anonymous said...


Vladimir Dzhuvinov said...

As a matter of fact, passports are not needed to travel within the EU if you are citizen of a member state; it is sufficient to have your ID card. But to leave/enter the EU you certainly need a passport.

It amazes me that personal identification has been so relaxed in the U.S. In my country, you may even get fined if you fail to produce your ID card when asked by the police.