State of the state

By Claire Brownell, The Windsor Star

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder expressed regret at his failure to build a second Windsor-Detroit bridge during his first year in office in Wednesday’s State of the State address.

“We did not succeed in moving ahead with the international bridge crossing,” he said. “We need to continue moving ahead because it’s not a bridge issue, it’s a job issue.”

The unbuilt bridge was one of few negative notes in Snyder’s address, which was otherwise an upbeat progress report highlighting Michigan’s improved unemployment rate over the past 12 months. He didn’t spend much time discussing the proposed Detroit River International Crossing bridge, but did get in a jab at Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun’s efforts to block it.

“Let’s not let special interests hold us back,” he said.

In a surprise move, Snyder announced his goal to build the DRIC bridge in his first State of the State address last year. U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also support the bridge, but it still awaits legislative approval in Michigan.

According to estimates, construction of the bridge would create tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Onequarter of the $500 billion in annual trade between Canada and the U.S. relies on the Windsor-Detroit crossing.

Snyder said he was dedicated to spending this year completing unfinished projects.

“We can’t afford to slow down. We must maintain the sense of urgency we had all last year. We must finish what we started,” he said.