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

House fire in Aldergrove

Flames shooting out what appears to be the chimney

Langleys seventh ‘rattiest’ municipality in B.C.

There are a number of ways to reduce risk of infestation says rodent removal expert

Cloverdale fourth grader wants to take learning to the next dimension

Riley Markowsky-Qadir wants his classmates to be able to learn in 3D

UPDATE: Aldergrove man identified in Tuesday’s fatal crash

RCMP continue to investigate fatal collision between a vehicle and a motorcycle in Aldergrove

SLIDESHOW: Kodiaks ground Lightning

Photos from Credo Christian’s 1-0 victory over Langley Christian in senior girls soccer

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

Been a long day? Here’s cute puppies in training

Group is training next batch of assistance dogs at Vancouver International Airport

B.C. skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Greater Victoria emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

Police, coast guard searching after man falls into Fraser River

Boats, divers and a helicopter involved in looking for man who fell into the water in Delta

Elderly man who went missing from a BC Ferry still hasn’t been found

Delta Police investigation has deemed incident non-suspicious in nature

Kiwi rugby team enjoys Langley hospitality

Cultural exchange: DW Poppy Secondary and New Zealand’s Te Awamutu College

VIDEO: Mounties seek help identifying ‘makeup bandit’ in bank robbery

Suspect appears to have used makeup or fake tanner to possibly cover tattoos or scars, police say

Cartoonist captures public mood following Toronto, Humboldt tragedies

Cartoonist said he was trying to find a bit of positivity with an image that has garnered attention

Whitecaps host against Real Salt Lake looking to snap 3-game losing streak

Ending their losing streak is all the Whitecaps care about when they host Salt Lake in Vancouver

Most Read