The chamber wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder in support of building a second bridge to Canada.
By Lee Ehlers
Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to build the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), a second bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, has a new advocate — the Novi Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber’s board of directors unanimously voted June 9 to support the NITC, joining a growing number of cities, businesses and civic organizations that have publicly backed the building initiative.
“We recognized that several cities were giving their support to the project, and we wanted the governor to know that we support it as well,” said Linda Daly, executive director of the Novi Chamber of Commerce.
“This bridge will not only benefit our city, but all of Michigan,” she said.
Novi chamber officials sent a letter to Snyder dated June 16, stating its support of the proposed publicly owned bridge.
“A world-class international bridge between Detroit and Windsor is necessary to support and increase trade with Canada, Michigan’s largest trading partner,” the chamber’s letter said. “The Novi Chamber recognizes that traffic over the Ambassador Bridge increases each year and thus an additional bridge that will create an increase in trade would have a positive impact on commerce throughout Michigan.”
Novi Economic Director Ara Topouzian praised the economic impact the NITC would have on Metro Detriot, noting that a second bridge would “increase commerce and bring more jobs to the area.”
Standing in opposition to Synder’s plan is Manuel “Manny” Moroun, owner of the aging Ambassador Bridge. Moroun agrees that the age of the Ambassador does necessitate the building of a second crossing into Windsor, but he wants the project to be privately owned and operated by his company.
Other critics of Snyder’s plan worry about the high cost of such a massive project and fear that funding for the NITC would fall squarely on the shoulders of cash-strapped Michigan taxpayers.
In response to these issues, the chamber’s letter points out other areas of funding, stating, “The Canadian government’s investment of $550 million in the project and the subsequent matching of $2 billion in federal highway construction funds for road projects across Michigan will provide much needed improvements to local roads as well as 10,000 additional jobs.”
The letter also states that these 10,000 jobs would be created “through the construction of the bridge, custom plazas, and connecting roadwork will be a welcomed boost to local economies.”
While many businesses and cities have stated their support of the building of a new bridge, debate continues on whether the bridge should be publicly owned by citizens of Michigan and Canada or privatley owned by Moroun.