Bill Ford Jr. supports DRIC

By Dave Battagello, The Windsor Star

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. is urging legislators in Michigan to approve construction of a new Windsor-Detroit bridge.

He made his comments Monday while speaking at the Washtenaw Economic Club at Washtenaw Community College, according to annarbor.com.

The automaker sends about 600 trucks daily across the Canada-U.S. border.

The Ambassador Bridge is “becoming capacity strained, which is costing our region money and, ultimately, jobs,” Ford said.

“We’re hopeful that the legislature will act decisively to create a new border crossing. To compete as a world-class community, we also need world-class infrastructure.”

Gov. Rick Snyder has been attempting for months to win political approval among lawmakers in Lansing, but has so far been unsuccessful amid intense political lobbying and large donations by billionaire bridge owner Matty Moroun.

At a Canada-U.S. trade and transportation meeting Tuesday in East Lansing, Snyder repeated his long-standing commitment to get the Detroit River International Crossing downriver bridge built.

“I don’t think there is any good reason not to support the bridge proposal,” he said at the Great Lakes International Trade and Transport Hub Summitt.

Snyder was to meet late Tuesday with Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville to discuss the next steps to get the bridge legislation approved after it stalled without enough support after several weeks of hearings within the state’s senate economic development committee.

Richardville has hinted moving the bills to his own government and operations committee in order to get it pushed forward for a full vote by the state’s Senate.

Political approval by the Senate and House in Michigan remain the large major hurdle before construction can begin on the DRIC bridge.

Meanwhile, a group offering its support to Moroun released a statewide poll Tuesday it claims shows nearly 50 per cent of people in Michigan are against the government-backed bridge.

Forty-nine per cent of 600 registered voters interviewed between Oct 14 and 16 say they are against the DRIC bridge, while only 31 per cent support the crossing, according to Americans For Prosperity, a conservative group with links to the Tea Party.