PLATTSBURGH The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce is welcoming the July 9 announcement by New York State Governor David Paterson that the State Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing the new Enhanced Driver Licenses statewide on Sept. 16. Its crucial to the North Country economy that we achieve the smoothest and most efficient possible process for crossing the border, stated Chamber President Garry Douglas. The states enhanced driver licenses will be a convenient and cost effective way for New Yorkers to meet the new border documentation requirements well ahead of the June 2009 deadline, and will include technology that will actually move those who have the EDLs through the border more quickly than those who present the traditional passports or a basic license and birth certificate. The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce has been among the leading advocates for a delay in implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which was originally going to require passports in January. Congress extended the implementation date to June 2009 to allow time for the launch of the alternative documents including EDLs. Under Governor Paterson, New York State has finalized an agreement with the [United States] Department of Homeland Security and has moved aggressively to the new EDLs available as soon as possible, stated Douglas. We appreciate his commitment to this essential part of life in upstate New York, and we will now be working actively with the Department of Motor Vehicles to help market and promote the new licenses. The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce and its Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition are also continuing to encourage the earliest possible availability of EDLs in Quebec as well. Its understandable that Quebec and other Canadian provinces were waiting for their neighboring states to take the lead, stated Douglas. We are assured that Quebec is now moving forward on offering similar border compliant licenses as an option for Quebecers, with indications that EDLs will be available there by the end of the year.