Customs funding clears hurdle
- By Judi Hasson
- Jul 17, 2000
A House appropriations subcommittee earmarked money last week to keep the
U.S. Customs Service modernization program alive for another year.
Although the amount of money tucked in the fiscal 2001 budget is still
up in the air, funds were included in the $14.4 billion Treasury-Postal
spending bill for fiscal 2001 to begin work on replacing the 17-year-old
Automated Commercial System, which regularly breaks down.
The House subcommittee approved $233.4 million for Customs computer
systems, including $105 million for the proposed Automated Commercial Environment
program — a World Wide Web-based system that would move goods faster and
link border entry points via an intranet. That money will do little more
than fund a feasibility study and begin the project. The total cost of the
project is estimated at $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion over four years.
"It certainly is enough to get the program started," said Olga Grkavac,
executive vice president of the Information Technology Association of America's
Enterprise Solutions Division.
Money for the automated system is not guaranteed. The bill still needs
approval by the full House committee and the Senate before it is signed
into law. And the White House wants importers to pay for the new system
via a user fee, instead of using funds from the general treasury.