It took nearly a month, but one impact of sequestration has finally arrived, just in time for Easter weekend.
Federal spending cuts have reduced overtime for Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry nationwide. Lengthy delays can be expected at international border crossings in the Buffalo-Niagara Region through the long weekend.
"It's exacerbated by the fact that this is a long weekend, the Canadian statutory holiday, so we expected it to be busier than normal today and sequestration makes the delays worse than they would otherwise be," said Ron Reinas, Peace Bridge General Manager.
At times Friday morning and afternoon, wait times at the Lewiston-Queenston bridge into the U.S. were up to 2 1/2 hours. The Peace Bridge and Rainbow Bridge have seen wait times of up to 1 1/2 hours. There are no significant delays heading into Canada.
Reinas says motorists can help speed the process by removing their sunglasses and rolling down their vehicle's front and back windows when approaching the inspection booth.
"Anything that can expedite the processing time at the booth will help everybody," Reinas said.
Wait times are expected to worsen in coming weeks as Customs and Border Protection begins furloughs amid a hiring freeze.