By Laura Weber
State Republican leaders say they hope to move forward in October with a proposal to build a publically owned second bridge between Detroit and Canada.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says a second bridge would benefit businesses throughout the state.
“Those entities that make things here, be they automobiles, furniture, chemicals, cereal or baby food or even Slinkys, all these things we make in Michigan, and agricultural products as well, Canadians buy more of that than anybody else in the world,” said Calley.
He says a publically owned bridge that connects major highways on both sides of the river would keep exports streaming into Canada from Michigan.
Calley was on Mackinac Island over the weekend for a Michigan Republican Party conference.
He lobbied for the bridge project while there saying the bridge project is a conservative one that will be attractive to Republicans and Democrats alike.
The proposal has been unpopular with some Republicans who think a second bridge should be built by a private company. The owner of the existing bridge in Detroit was also at the Michigan Republican Party conference on Mackinac Island to try to influence lawmakers oppose a publically owned bridge.
Calley says he and Governor Rick Snyder are not deterred by campaigning against the project by the company that owns the existing bridge in Detroit.
“[We’re] making very steady progress and feel good about the track that it’s on right now,” said Calley. “It’s really always been more a matter of getting through all of the garbage on the TV ads, and simply articulating what the proposal is.”
Calley says one of the biggest hurdles they face is countering the influence of the multi-million dollar ad campaign. The campaign is paid for by the owners of the existing Ambassador Bridge.