Michigan needs its new trade crossing

Snyder, Richardville must continue fight to pass bills

Lansing State Journal

After months of work by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration to support the New International Trade Crossing, the project got hung up in a Senate committee.

It may be moved to a new committee to keep it alive. That’s the right call. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and Snyder must not give up this fight.

Michigan needs the new crossing. Snyder has worked carefully with the Canadian government to craft a plan that will build it without using Michigan tax dollars. Canada will pay Michigan’s $550 million share of construction costs, to be paid back by toll revenue.

Business and labor leaders across the state support the new bridge project. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the project. Snyder and four past governors of Michigan support it.

The Canadian government is eager for a new crossing with better highway connections, one that would take heavy truck traffic off Windsor’s busy streets. For that reason, it’s not likely to support Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun’s plan to build his own second span next to his existing bridge.

Detroit is the nation’s busiest commercial border crossing, with $120 billion in goods crossing annually. Construction of a new crossing would generate some 10,000 construction jobs, a sorely needed boost to Michigan’s economy.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, is one of the GOP senators supporting the new bridge. Aside from economic impact, Jones is concerned about the national security implications of Moroun’s bridge, which could be sold in a private deal.

The new trade crossing would be publicly owned, but privately operated, assuring access for shipping without meddling by those seeking to advance their own agendas.

Moroun’s manipulation of the Michigan Legislature is concerning. He spent nearly $5 million in advertising in the past six months, much of it blasting Snyder or targeted to pressure individual lawmakers.

And that doesn’t count additional millions in campaign contributions.

Michigan must not let Moroun block this much needed new bridge.

Pass the New International Trade Crossing project, senators.

An LSJ editorial