With the turnaround for passports now as long as three months, Congress has finally conceded that it's not practical to require a passport for all land and sea travel to and from the United States by the original deadline of January 1, 2008.
The new deadline to have a passport for land and sea crossings of American borders has been set for June 2009. In the meantime, the backlog is so bad that the U.S. Government has even temporarily loosened the requirements for air travel.
But that doesn't mean you should wait to apply. If you don't have a passport, put in for it now before you need it so you'll have it when the time comes.