Gov. Rick Snyder announced his support for construction of a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
We’re glad see some positive news about a project that will help the state. It’s needed to balance a very negative ad campaign under way over the past couple of months that has tried to stop the new bridge. The ads claim that construction isn’t in the best interest of the public. In reality, the only one whose “best interest” will be affected is the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge, 84-year-old Manuel “Matty” Moroun, who is financing the public relations blitz.
Over a year ago, we expressed support for the new bridge and we haven’t seen any data to change our minds.
The campaign against the new structure is slick, well written and excellently executed. Moroun appears to be getting his money’s worth. We just hope he doesn’t get his way.
At best, the campaign is misleading and, at worst, it is a deceitful attempt to denigrate a project that truly would benefit Michigan.
In a news release, Snyder outlined some reasons why a bridge is not only desired but needed. He notes that trade with Canada supported 237,000 Michigan jobs; commerce between Canada and Michigan grew to $62 billion, which is a 42-percent increase over 2009; Michigan and Canada are each other’s largest trading partners; and Michigan exports more goods to Canada than any other state.
The economic numbers involved are staggering. The bridge would bring an estimated $1.8 billion in investment to the Detroit-Windsor area, create 10,000 construction jobs in Michigan and generate another 30,000 indirect jobs in Michigan and Windsor. Also, the Canadian government has offered to pay the $550 million cost of the work. Once constructed, its operation is expected to be supported through tolls. In addition, once financing is in place, the state would be in line for funds from Washington.
The project has the support of Chrysler, General Motors and Ford auto companies. Other advocates of the New International Trade Crossing, formerly called the Detroit River International Crossing, include Toyota, Honda, automotive suppliers, West Michigan businesses, including Amway, Steelcase, Meijer and Wolverine World Wide Inc., chambers of commerce from Marquette to Muskegon to Detroit and statewide business and agri-businesses, including the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Manufactures Association and Business Leaders for Michigan, labor unions, including the Michigan AFL-CIO, and political leaders across the state.
Considering the overwhelming support, it is amazing and sad that Moroun has managed to hold up the project.
We understand his desire to maintain his monopoly on local bridge crossings but figures indicate he will ultimately also benefit. It’s not as though the new bridge will put him out of business.
What’s needed now is for the state Legislature to pass the enabling laws that will allow the Michigan to contract with Canada and get the new bridge constructed.
Last year that legislation was stalled. This year, we hope our Lansing leaders look past a billionaire’s money and do what’s right for the state.