Schumer Calls For NEXUS Expansion to Buffalo Airport

Only NEXUS Enrollment site is at Whirlpool Bridge

Mike Baggerman
July 02, 2018 - 1:10 pm

Departure and Arrival Schedules of Flights at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. July 2, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing for Customs and Border Patrol to expand its NEXUS enrollment program to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

NEXUS allows pre-screened users to cut wait times when crossing the United States/Canada border. NEXUS is seen primarily at the border crossings at bridges, though users at the airport get TSA pre-check.

"NEXUS costs $50," Schumer said. "Pre-check costs $85. But when you get the NEXUS card for $50, you get pre-check thrown in. Even if you're just doing pre-check, NEXUS is better and you save $35."

Schumer said that Western New Yorkers have a low enrollment because of a lack of sites. The only enrollment site in Western New York is at the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls, though users have the option to apply online.  Several Canadian airports have the ability for consumers to enroll, though there are none in the United States. Schumer said that he's had conversations with Customs and Border Patrol about implementing it at the Buffalo Airport and he said CBP is "looking into it."

"We all know how important tourism between Canada and Western New York is for our regional economy," Schumer said. "Lots of New Yorkers go back and forth to Canada all the time. They go shopping, visit family cottages, just go to dinner, enjoy a view from the Canadian side of the falls. Canadians come here, of course, as well. They're shopping, dining, and tourism dollars bring tens of millions of dollars all the time into Erie and Niagara Counties' sales tax revenue."

NFTA Executive Director Kimberly Minkel said over 80 percent of people flying out of the Niagara Falls Airport are Canadian while 40 percent of travelers at the Buffalo Airport are Canadian. 

"NEXUS is the most affordable way to reduce travel," Minkel said. "NEXUS is the most affordable way to reduce travel clearance times, both at the airport and bridges. The more people enroll, the better it is for both the airport and bridges."

About 30 percent of travelers at the Peace Bridge use NEXUS while 10 percent utilize the program at the Niagara Bridges. 

"We could certainly use an increase," Schumer said. 

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