Marchionne pulls no punches

Published: Monday, June 07, 2010

If anyone has a chance to convince Michigan senators to support the DRIC plan to build a second bridge between Windsor and Detroit, it has to be Sergio Marchionne.

The no-nonsense CEO of Chrysler Group LLC had a captive audience of politicians attending last week’s policy conference on Mackinac Island, and he took the opportunity to address them.

“I want to make it clear that Chrysler strongly supports the proposed DRIC,” he told them in a speech. “This proposed new crossing would add necessary redundancy and unimpeded access from Ontario’s highways to Michigan’s interstates.”

Then he gave policy-makers some numbers: Chrysler has 2,000 vehicles crossing the border every day, plus 1,300 shipments and hundreds of workers. Add in other companies and at least $100 million in goods cross daily.

“This project needs adequate attention and needs to become a priority in federal and state political agendas,” he continued, well aware senators have been waffling.

But those senators are also well aware of the devastating impact the collapse of Chrysler would have had on the disadvantaged state. They need the company to be able to operate at optimum efficiency, and Marchionne has made it clear that can’t happen without DRIC’s second span.

State leaders should also look at the $1.8-billion that would be pumped into Windsor and Detroit, generating about 30,000 jobs on both sides. Michigan alone would benefit from 10,000 direct new construction jobs.

Given all this, would senators say “no” to the best deal for their state? We hope not.

© The Windsor Star 2010