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Crossing the Border Could Get Easier for Businesses that Can Afford It

Over half of the Northeast Kingdom’s Jay Peak customers are from Canada. But border crossings can be troublesome and Jay Peak owner Bill Stenger is willing pay for quicker crossings for his customers. To that end, a new pilot program in the Department of Homeland Security will allow private companies to provide supplemental private funding for personnel and customs terminals at the border. Facilities at the Miami airport, and areas of the US/ Mexican border in Texas and Northern Vermont are qualify for "alternative private supplemental funding."

The money could be used to cover salaries of additional staff, overtime and services such as inspections. Customs and Border Protection is reviewing submissions from more than a dozen places around the country and expects to choose five ports of entry this summer.

Stenger is willing to pay an estimated $1,000 per day, but not for the “long-term”. He says he has a “good relationship” with border officials, is sympathetic to their budget constraints and willing to “buck up and help pay for it”.

“On the one hand I don’t think we should have to pay for this extra care, but I’m willing to do it because it just means so much to us,” said Bill Stenger… “I cannot afford to have our guests unnecessarily delayed at the border.”

The Northeast Kingdom's Stenger has extensive business interests in international trade development. Along with Jay Peak partner Ariel Quiros he is developing an aircraft manufacturing facility at Vermont's state-owned airport in Newport. The business will import fuselage components from Russia and around the world. The existing runway will be expanded by 1,000 ft. to accommodate private jets pending FAA approval.

The plane manufacturing company also builds float planes, said Quiros' partner Bill Stenger of Newport City, who is working on a waterfront hotel and conference center project.

Stenger said he has talked with U.S. border officials about creating a port of entry for float planes on international Lake Memphremagog so they could tie up at the hotel.

Should be no problems there: after all, some of the Border Patrol/Customs/Immigration staff at the crossing will already be on Stenger's payroll.  

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