Biden Infrastructure Details

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MARC Rider

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I can't answer for Canada (where customs inspectors have been nasty for many years), but as recently as last fall I've walked across the border into Mexico without even showing ID.
My understanding is that Mexico lets you walk into the border towns without checking, but when you drive a few miles into the country there are checkpoints where you will need whatever documentation they are requiring now. Of course, you need your passport to get back into the US. That's the way it worked in 2009, which is the last time I went to a border town.
 

tricia

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My understanding is that Mexico lets you walk into the border towns without checking, but when you drive a few miles into the country there are checkpoints where you will need whatever documentation they are requiring now. Of course, you need your passport to get back into the US. That's the way it worked in 2009, which is the last time I went to a border town.
Thanks for the added info. I've never walked more than a few blocks into Nogales, and several times there was literally no staff at the border, just a one-way revolving gate into Mexico. On return to US, though, there's a line and full customs procedure.
 

Devil's Advocate

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There is absolutely no reason why travel between the US, Canada and Mexico should be anything more difficult than what happens when you cross a border in Europe. If the terrorists were/are trying to negatively impact our way of life, we have effectively let them succeed through our own ridiculous policies. I remember the horror of 9/11, and understand the overreaction at the time. But that was 20 years ago - we need to take our mobility back.
Setting Mexico aside I think the main impediments to reaching an agreement with Canada boil down to our perpetually dysfunctional immigration policy, the disparity of threat levels, and the fact that the US now invalidates international treaties at the drop of a hat. Why would Canada offer concessions or accept greater responsiblity to appease our demands only to watch the next administration reverse course and pretend the treaty no longer exists or was signed under false pretenses? How do we un-ring that bell?

You would think that an 'attack' from an outside force would unite us to fight it together, but as the pandemic has clearly shown, even that has not happened...JMHO.
Things might be different if we had a visionary to help guide us through 9/11 & C19. Imagine if we heard something more inspired than instructions to fight terror with shopping or endless whining about hoaxes and conspiracies. Then again true visionaries seem to find themselves targeted by those who wish to keep us divided.

"Adversarial" is part of the job description and they always assume you're smuggling something.
It really does not have to be this way. Japan has some of the most restrictive rules on foreign tourism but the one time I ended up in the full inspection line there was never any hint of judgement. Despite the invasive nature of the process the staff did their job quickly and respectfully. This allowed them to confirm I was no risk to their country while also ensuring I would leave with a positive view of my treatment.
 
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Seaboard92

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I've taken a few courses in counter terrorism so I feel I have something to add to this. When you look at the current situation in the USA the situation is ripe for radicalization or for espionage because of economic situations. You have a population that feels like no matter what they do doesn't matter. With that happening you are giving Xi, and Vladimir exactly what they want a weakened America that isn't able to do anything. Dividing our population against each other. Not just that they could easily recruit these people into organizations that will do harm to the country as a whole.

Our border is incredibly weak on the Canadian side if I was Vladimir it wouldn't be hard to find someone who looks like most Americans have them walk a few miles into the woods on the Canadian side walk right on into the USA in the middle of the woods. It isn't practical to defend every part of that border. And for the most part no one would realize, and if you used a radicalized American to pick them up and give them shelter boom you just got Russian spies across the border. If the border isn't defendable I don't think it is worth the insane amount of investment we are putting in it, and turning it into this gigantic boondoggle.

What would be a better use of that money is creating jobs, developing rural America to help stem the recruitment of disenfranchised Americans. High Speed Rail in that sense again is the perfect project for the USA because it allows for rural areas and states to get the development they need. Just because the trains run from urban area to urban area doesn't mean they don't create jobs in Ohio or South Carolina. It still does and it allows for the country to develop. It is better to invest in the people of the country than in defense because if you don't invest in education, infrastructure, healthcare, among other civilian needs you really aren't defending anything. So take the money that went to the boondoggle on the border and put that in rail, and other things to make the country better. A healthy country is what keeps radicalization low.
 

jis

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But then again, the greatest danger of radical terrorist action now appears to be domestic, not particularly requiring any Russian agent. So maybe trying to defend against Russian agents while we refuse to acknowledge at home terrorism is just barking up the wrong tree, and maybe it is being done with ulterior political motives all home grown. But all this has gone way far afield from Infrastructure Projects other than to say that investment in Infrastructure producing jobs may help reduce the chances of these bad things coming to pass, while also recognizing that there may be a significant movement in the country that actually does want a few bad things to come to pass, since among some the force of nihilism appears to be strong these days. 🤷‍♂️

Mods: I would not mind at all if you were to deep six this post BTW. ;)
 
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IndyLions

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6. I do not support the Detroit - Toronto thru Amtrak service however if implemented customs needs to be at the border so all the persons west of Toronto can get a somewhat 1 seat ride west of Detroit all the way the CHI and connections there. Another too much only looking at final destinations by many of our posters.
I'm not sure which poster you are talking about regarding Detroit to Toronto (really Chicago to Toronto thru Detroit). I'm absolutely sure it wasn't me. No way in hell should they run a "sealed train" through Canada. That's asinine, and a cop out to solving the border issue.
 

frequentflyer

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My understanding is that Mexico lets you walk into the border towns without checking, but when you drive a few miles into the country there are checkpoints where you will need whatever documentation they are requiring now. Of course, you need your passport to get back into the US. That's the way it worked in 2009, which is the last time I went to a border town.
Nuevo Progresso works like that. Its how the "snow birds" get to visit the 90 plus dentist (pre Covid) and pharmacies. You have to go through US Customs though on the way back.
 

Gemuser

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Well, most of Europe is in the Schengen Treaty, so crossing between countries is like going between states in the US or provinces in Canada. What's it like to enter the Schengen area from the outside?
From my personal expirence entering Schengen via Italy, Denmark, France & Switzerland, on an Australian passport "as easy as falling off a log". Short lines ,max 3 people in front, except the first in Italy [1994] when it was about a dozen. Time at Immigration desk, 15 seconds [Denmark] to a max 30 econds, all the rest. I can not speak about any other passport, although I'd be surprised if it was much different for any "western" country. The rest, I have no idea.
 

Exvalley

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There are some who would not consider DUI a minor infraction, but regardless it's also grounds for being denied entry to the US.
Unless you go through the process of obtaining a waiver (which no casual tourist will), Canada prohibits entry if you have a single DUI conviction, even from many years past.

The United States does not prohibit entry under the same circumstances.

 

tricia

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I was going to ask @tricia regarding an earlier post, so dental care in Mexico is a thing?
Dental work in Mexico for US and Canadian citizens is a pretty big thing in some towns at the border. Most of this work seems to be done in big practices that cater specifically to foreign patients--but I don't have any experience with that. I've gone to a solo practitioner in Nogales, who'd been the regular dentist of a friend of ours who used to live in southern AZ. Our dentist's training has been in the US, inlcuding an additional course of training in implants (which was most of the work my husband and I needed). My impression is that (in his case, anyway) the cost savings comes from a) not paying the very high cost of liability insurance for US-based dentists, and b) vastly less office infrastructure and overhead.

If this sounds like a dentist you'd like to consider for yourself, please PM me and I'll send you contact info.

I thnk this has gone far enough off-topic. 🙃 Back to Amtrak discussion?
 

jiml

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Dental work in Mexico for US and Canadian citizens is a pretty big thing in some towns at the border. Most of this work seems to be done in big practices that cater specifically to foreign patients--but I don't have any experience with that. I've gone to a solo practitioner in Nogales, who'd been the regular dentist of a friend of ours who used to live in southern AZ. Our dentist's training has been in the US, inlcuding an additional course of training in implants (which was most of the work my husband and I needed). My impression is that (in his case, anyway) the cost savings comes from a) not paying the very high cost of liability insurance for US-based dentists, and b) vastly less office infrastructure and overhead.

If this sounds like a dentist you'd like to consider for yourself, please PM me and I'll send you contact info.

I thnk this has gone far enough off-topic. 🙃 Back to Amtrak discussion?
Thanks to you and @frequentflyer for this info. I learned something new!
 

jiml

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Unless you go through the process of obtaining a waiver (which no casual tourist will), Canada prohibits entry if you have a single DUI conviction, even from many years past.

The United States does not prohibit entry under the same circumstances.

Unfortunately I know people in this situation. However, not knowing their individual circumstances I'm going to speculate that their DUI was preceded by another "traffic violation" per Item #4 of your document, which could bar entry without a waiver. Like most border crossings, discretion is held by the officer and once turned away there is no immediate avenue of appeal and you are placed on "the list" for future reference.
 

Heading North

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One thought on the Canadian border crossing/sealed trains point. What if there were two customs facilities, one at the border and one at Toronto, with no stops between them? For the Maple Leaf, passengers could get off the train at Niagara Falls (ON), be processed, and if traveling to any of the local stops, connect to GO. Remaining passengers would be screened in Toronto (or even hypothetically the processing could begin on-board as the train moves, and officials would have the manifest etc.). No local stops, Niagara as discharge-only (since GO exists too). Same thing for Sarnia (or Windsor) and Toronto on the Detroit side. That way you get cross-border and through service, you don’t delay the whole train for a handful of people, and only those going to a handful of stops are inconvenienced by a change of trains, still no backtracking. (Niagara is also enough of a destination to justify this; not sure how it would go on the western side.)
 

jiml

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One thought on the Canadian border crossing/sealed trains point. What if there were two customs facilities, one at the border and one at Toronto, with no stops between them? For the Maple Leaf, passengers could get off the train at Niagara Falls (ON), be processed, and if traveling to any of the local stops, connect to GO. Remaining passengers would be screened in Toronto (or even hypothetically the processing could begin on-board as the train moves, and officials would have the manifest etc.). No local stops, Niagara as discharge-only (since GO exists too). Same thing for Sarnia (or Windsor) and Toronto on the Detroit side. That way you get cross-border and through service, you don’t delay the whole train for a handful of people, and only those going to a handful of stops are inconvenienced by a change of trains, still no backtracking. (Niagara is also enough of a destination to justify this; not sure how it would go on the western side.)
That's not a bad idea - especially if there was more than one daily frequency on the route. How would you handle the trip in the other direction?
 

jis

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I am sure VIA will require Amtrak to bear the cost burden of operations in Canada that operate with no revenues accruing to VIA. I am also sure Amtrak will have an interesting time convincing either the federal Congress or the State of NY that they should funding an operation in Canada. Should be interesting to see how it goes. 😏
 

jiml

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I am sure VIA will require Amtrak to bear the cost burden of operations in Canada that operate with no revenues accruing to VIA. I am also sure Amtrak will have an interesting time convincing either the federal Congress or the State of NY that they should funding an operation in Canada. Should be interesting to see how it goes. 😏
I totally agree with you. No incentive for VIA, whether stops or cash, and no funding equals no train in Canada. @NS VIA Fan summed up how the services could best operate at both Niagara Falls and Detroit/Windsor when the border re-opens. All that would take is some creative scheduling. Montreal and Vancouver are completely different topics. Toronto is just too far from the border for anything but the previous Maple Leaf operating model, which wasn't very efficient.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I am also sure Amtrak will have an interesting time convincing either the federal Congress or the State of NY that they should funding an operation in Canada.
The Maple Leaf and Adirondack are both state supported trains.
 

jis

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Maple Leaf in Canada is a VIA train. NY State has no funding involved for it. Their funding responsibility ends at Niagara Falls ON AFAICT.

Adirondack is entirely an Amtrak operation funded by NY State, but the distance from the border to Montreal is pretty short.

The Cascades in Canada are funded according to some complex agreement between Washington State and BC AFAIK. I am not sure what the arrangement is.

But this discussion is about relatively long distance closed door operation through Canada, of which there is no current example.
 

crescent-zephyr

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But this discussion is about relatively long distance closed door operation through Canada, of which there is no current example.
I’m not sure why the distance matters?

If it’s x number of miles to Vancouver
Y number of miles to Montreal
Who cares if it’s z number of miles to Toronto? It would be accomplishing the same thing.
 

jis

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I’m not sure why the distance matters?

If it’s x number of miles to Vancouver
Y number of miles to Montreal
Who cares if it’s z number of miles to Toronto? It would be accomplishing the same thing.
It is all about money and who pays for it. More distance means more cost that someone has to bear. If Amtrak collects all the revenues, which generally is seldom enough to cover the entire operation, then one would expect Amtrak to pay for the operations.

In case of Maple Leaf running sealed from NFL to TWO for example, if VIA does not pay for operation in Canada, then NY State or Amtrak or some combination has to bear the cost. Whether that matters or not is upto the legislature usually since they have to appropriate the money.

Even with its really short run in Canada, and not even sealed, the Adirondack in the past has several times come within a hair's breadth of being discontinued, so the concern is real no matter how much people may wish to sweep it under the rug to avoid thinking about bad possibilities.
 

crescent-zephyr

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It is all about money and who pays for it. More distance means more cost that someone has to bear. If Amtrak collects all the revenues, which generally is seldom enough to cover the entire operation, then one would expect Amtrak to pay for the operations.

In case of Maple Leaf running sealed from NFL to TWO for example, if VIA does not pay for operation in Canada, then NY State or Amtrak or some combination has to bear the cost. Whether that matters or not is upto the legislature usually since they have to appropriate the money.

Even with its really short run in Canada, and not even sealed, the Adirondack in the past has several times come within a hair's breadth of being discontinued, so the concern is real no matter how much people may wish to sweep it under the rug to avoid thinking about bad possibilities.
I figure the per mileage cost is the least of the concerns but who knows.

It really should be very easy. If your name and passport is approved to travel to Canada / USA you are allowed to buy a ticket. At the border, your ID is checked to make sure that you are you, and that’s it. There shouldn’t be any need for questioning.

But again... that’s not reality.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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"Most rails in the Lehigh Valley are currently owned and operated by Norfolk Southern Corp., which would have to grant the right-of-way for use of the rails.:"

Norfolk Southern has, several times now, voiced rather strong public opposition to Amtrak using their rails for passenger line expansion. Can NS really down-right stop Amtrak? I seem to recall, though it might be blurred a bit over the decades, that the law that created Amtrak, also allowed Amtrak reasonable usage of rail lines. Am I correct?
 
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