Stand firm for new U.S.-Canada trade crossing

Michigan needs new bridge, not addition to old one

Lansing State Journal

With rhetoric over the proposed new bridge between Detroit and Windsor getting louder by the day, it’s vital that Michigan voters and lawmakers stay focused on what’s best for the state’s future. The New International Bridge Crossing, a fresh span linking Detroit and Windsor with better highway connections and more efficient crossing times, is needed.

Voters and lawmakers must not be distracted by attacks from the Detroit International Bridge Co., owners of the existing Ambassador Bridge, which wants to add a second span there.

Gov. Rick Snyder is pushing for the new crossing. Numerous business groups support it as well. Meanwhile, the Ambassador Bridge’s owners are spending large sums on ads opposing the new crossing. Their effort earned criticism from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, which this week released a report showing that, from March to this month, the Detroit International Bridge Co. spent $4.7 million on television ads urging citizens to oppose the new crossing. MCFN argues that the ads are grass-roots advocacy that should require the company to register as a lobbyist and report its ad spending. Bridge company officials disagree.

Sadly, that says more about the weak condition of Michigan’s campaign finance rules than it does about the intentions of the bridge company. Gongwer News Service reported ads are now airing in Iowa to stir opposition from GOP presidential candidates.

But need for the new crossing is strong. A new analysis by Anderson Economic Group notes that Detroit is the nation’s busiest commercial border crossing, with some $120 billion in goods crossing each year. It also has some of the nation’s worst waiting times to cross. That has a disastrous impact on business. Experts say a second span for the Ambassador won’t solve all the delays.

Business Leaders for Michigan released a new poll showing 61.5 percent of voters support the new crossing when told that Canada plans to pay Michigan’s share of costs, to be paid back from tolls.

Snyder and others are adamant that Michigan taxpayers will be protected from any financial shortfalls in the new crossing project. A new crossing will bring construction jobs and stronger trade activity to Michigan. It will build the economy. It deserves support.

An LSJ Editorial.