MIAMI -

The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that Miami-Dade County will participate in a pilot program allowing Miami International Airport and PortMiami to reimburse Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for increased service levels.

The department wanted to provide more CBP staff at MIA and Port Miami despite automatic spending cuts imposed on the federal government.

“This is an excellent step forward for Miami-Dade, South Florida businesses, and anyone who flies internationally through the ‘Gateway to the Americas,’” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23). “We’ve been working diligently with the Department of Homeland Security to find a way to decrease passenger and cargo customs wait times and today’s announcement is a major victory for our community.”

“The inclusion of MIA in this pilot program is great news for the millions of travelers who visit our community from abroad or are returning home to South Florida,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “Our local Congressional leaders were a huge help in this effort and I thank them for their advocacy.”

Elected officials hoped the program would help decrease wait times for customs lines.