All too often in Washington, we focus our attention on the “important” legal issues and lose sight of the fact that most of the law and policy is made at a lower level where significant legal and planning decisions are made in the background. A case in point is the newly issued plan “Considerations for United States – Canada Border Traffic Disruption Management.” The plan is a
planning framework for border traffic disruptions management which requires the involvement and coordination of multiple agencies, organizations, and entities. It identifies key stakeholders in border communities and outlines critical issues to consider when developing or updating existing plans for managing the flow of traffic (people and goods) to and away from the border during a large-scale traffic disruption.
In plain English, its a guideline on how to deal with a major traffic disruption like the one that happened in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when most of our border crossings with Canada were simply closed. Given that Canada is our largest trading partner, any effort to plan to avoid, or ameliorate a disruption is fundamentally a good idea — and this document is an excellent starting point. Will it save the world? Hardly. Is it “important”? Not in any political sense. But it is deeply practical and sensible. It’s nice to be reminded that government sometimes does that too.