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U.S. TO EXPEDITE CANADIAN BORDER CROSSINGS

Federal officials say border crossings are being expanded in a half-dozen states to allow frequent commuters easier travel between the United States and Canada.

Border crossings in Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Washington state have been targeted for the expansion, said officials for the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.Special commuter lanes already are being used at Blaine, Wash., for frequent travelers who buy an annual $25 permit.

Travelers with the valid passes or windshield stickers issued by either federal agency soon also will be able to use them crossing into Canada on Detroit's Ambassador Bridge, in the Detroit/Windsor tunnel and at Point Roberts, Wash.

The lanes should be operational Sept. 15 at Point Roberts, with a Nov. 1 target date for the Detroit crossings, said George Pruch-niew-ski, program officer for U.S. Cus-toms.

Another program, the Automated Permit Ports, will use special technology such as video and fingerprint sensors to allow passage at times when a remote rural port is not staffed by federal officials.