$3M saves Customs pilot

At the last minute, the Treasury Department found $3 million to keep a Customs

Service modernization program up and running.

Treasury had announced that it did not have the money to continue operating

a computer prototype system designed to speed imports through Customs, but

it notified Congress last week that money was available for the program.

Treasury had $1.8 million in unspent funds from fiscal 1999 and $1.2 million

from other accounts to pay for the system.

"These funding sources will provide the full amount...[to] allow the Customs

Service to continue the National Commercial Automated Prototype pilots previously

scheduled for shutdown on March 13," Lisa Ross, Treasury's acting assistant

secretary for management and chief financial officer, wrote Rep. Jim Kolbe

(R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Treasury, Postal

Service and General Government Subcommittee.

The prototype would replace a 17-year-old system that has had problems,

including a crash for more than a week last year. The system is used to

speed imports of auto parts from Canada at three border stations.

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