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EFFECT OF PASSPORT PLAN ON BUSINESS SOUGHT

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, is asking the Government Accountability Office to put a dollar figure on how much the Bush administration's proposal to require passports for North American travel will cost in lost American business and jobs.

Slaughter's spokesman Eric Burns said the GAO has said it will give her request a quick answer. Slaughter is the senior Democrat on the Rules Committee.

Slaughter's request came a day after the Ontario Chamber of Commerce said delays at crossings between Ontario and the United States are costing billions of dollars every year. The chamber predicted traffic delays at Detroit-Windsor by the year 2030 will cost more than $12 billion (U.S.) annually and result in 70,000 lost Canadian jobs.

The study had no forecasts about the New York border, but it noted that two-day trade between Ontario and New York was about $16 billion in 2003.

The administration announced in early April that passports will be required, starting in 2008, for all U.S. travel in the Western Hemisphere. The president has ordered the edict to be reviewed.

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