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NEWS - Reduction Cost for a SENTRI Pass

SENTRI pass will soon cost $42.25

U.S. slashing price to encourage more crosser to use program
Por: Leonel Sánchez 9 Enero 2011 @ 10:18 pm
It's going to get a lot cheaper to cross the border using a SENTRI fast pass.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to slash the price of the high-tech fast pass as part of campaign to encourage more low-risk, frequent border crossers to register for the program.
The price of a SENTRI pass will soon drop from $122.25 to $42.25 per applicant, valid for five years, said Pete Flores, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Director for Field Operations in San Diego.
"We're shooting to get as many as possible," Flores said during an interview Friday.
CBP will also be opening a new SENTRI enrollment center just east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The facility, under construction at the site of the former Payless shoe store, will open in late February or early March, Flores said. CBP operates a SENTRI center in Otay Mesa, where the program started in 1995.
SENTRI passes allow pre-screened motorists and pedestrians to use special lanes to expedite their crossing. Applicants must pass background checks, submit fingerprints and an interview with CBP officers. Cars are also inspected.
SENTRI stands for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection and relies on a high-tech card and license plate readers and computers.
The program helps ease traffic congestion but is still not widely utilized. Only two percent of pedestrians use SENTRI to cross at San Ysidro, Flores said. Meanwhile about 28 percent of motorists who cross there use SENTRI, he said. Flores said a recent survey showed that price was one reason more people were not enrolling in the program.
San Ysidro Port Director Chris Maston, speaking at a binational meeting Friday in San Diego, said he hoped more pedestrians will enroll in the SENTRI program to help expedite foot traffic. Northbound waits for pedestrians topped two hours during the holidays, he said.
"I don't think anybody should have to stand in line for two hours unless they're at Disneyland and choose to do so," said Maston.
On Dec. 23, it took about four hours to cross by foot, many heading north to do holiday shopping.
Maston said many people wrongly believe that the program is reserved for business people and professionals.
Maston provided an update about the SENTRI program during a meeting of the Coalition for Border Prosperity Smart Border Committee, a program of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and was met with words of encouragement.
About 50 civic and business leaders from both sides of the border attended the meeting. Mexican officials said they would help get the word out about the new SENTRI developments.
SENTRI details
Applicants for a SENTRI pass must pass a background check, submit fingerprints and an interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer. People can apply on line.
For information in Spanish click here.

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