News of a potential upgrade at the Alexandria Bay Port of Entry has river communities excited about what it could bring. Our Elizabeth Jeneault caught up with the Town of Alexandria Wednesday to discuss a possible business boom for the area.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Alexandria Bay Port of Entry clears 1.5 million passengers a year.
The border station is one of the busiest in the country, but also one of the most outdated.
That's why President Obama included a $105 million dollar renovation project for the port in his recently proposed budget.
It's news welcomed by North Country communities.
“It’s going to definitely help the traffic flow there and that’s one of the things that the trucking industry looks at, is how quick they can get their trucks through into the United States," said Town of Alexandria Supervisor Dale Hunneyman.
Under the plan, commercial and passenger vehicle inspection lanes would be added. That means the station could move more people across the border. And where there's more traffic, there's opportunity for new business.
"Convenient stores, gas stations, maybe possibly some more types of stores, variety stores," explained Hunneyman.
The Town of Alexandria says it could use that type of development along Route 12. Especially because a lot of their businesses only operate during the summer months, when tourism peaks.
"We definitely are starting to look for more year round jobs," said Hunneyman.
The town says that if the project ends up being funded, it could be a financial lifesaver. Tight budgets have forced the town to continually make tough decisions, such as cutting jobs.
"Matter of fact Monday night we made some decision to close our ice arena this summer and lay off two full time employees and a couple part time people down there just to save money," explained Hunneyman.
So for now, communities like the town of Alexandria are just hoping the budget gets passed as is.