With ad campaigns, editorials and other efforts to sway public opinion regarding the New International Trade Crossing in the news recently, the Chamber joined other officials on a site visit to hear directly from members of the community about the impact this vital economic development project would have on Southwest Detroit.
The NITC site tour was hosted by State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and attended by the President of the United Autoworkers Bob King, Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, along with two representatives from the Detroit Regional Chamber, Senior Vice President for Economic Development Ben Erulkar and Vice President for Government Relations Brad Williams.
There is little question that the NITC will have a significant impact on the residents of Delray in Southwest Detroit. Due to this, residents in the neighborhood are seeking a “Community Benefits Agreement” to mitigate the environmental impacts of increased truck traffic.
While hosting the bridge will result in increased diesel truck traffic through the neighborhood, the environmental impact is expected to be minimized by increased capacity and efficiency on both sides of the border. Direct freeway-to-freeway connection at the NITC site and decreased congestion at the Ambassador bridge will help minimize truck idling.
Residents of the neighborhood are eligible for $28 million of enhanced mitigation, which would be paid for by the private sector as part of the winning bidder’s construction costs. The $28 million is identified in the federal “green sheet” which is completed as part of the environmental clearance process required by the federal government.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has identified mitigation beyond the federal requirements to be put on the green sheet. Once the requirements are placed on the green sheet they are required under federal law as part of the project’s construction and would also be required under the proposed legislation authorizing the private sector to build the NITC.