More Jobs for Michigan with a New Bridge to Canada

By Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley

If there’s one question I get asked a lot these days, it’s this one: Why do we need to build a new bridge to Canada?

It’s not surprising people are thinking about it. Millions are being spent on TV ads to tear the bridge down before it’s even been built, but the arguments against it are about as sturdy as a suspension bridge built with toothpicks.

So let’s set the record straight. Here’s why a new bridge is so important to the people of Michigan — and here’s why it won’t cost us a penny.

We make things here in Michigan. We grow fruits and vegetables, build automobiles, construct furniture and harvest lumber — and we make money by selling our products across the country and around the world. If we want to create more and better jobs in our state, those industries have to grow. They can only grow if we’re able to produce more and sell more. And we can only sell more if we can put our products in the hands of our customers.

The problem is, there are limits to what we can sell because we only have one bridge to reach Canada, our biggest and best customer, at the place where we need it most — the Detroit-Windsor crossing. Today, the Ambassador Bridge is crowded, and it routinely suffers backups and delays. As we all know, time is money, and our factories and farmers lose out the longer it takes for them to ship goods to market.

If we want more jobs, that means we want more businesses to come to Michigan. But new businesses won’t come to Michigan if they’re going to waste time and money trying to get their trucks across a bridge that doesn’t meet their needs. They will look elsewhere. Thankfully, there’s a solution — the New International Trade Crossing.

Under an agreement signed by Governor Rick Snyder and the Canadian government, a new bridge will be built from Windsor to Detroit, opening the door for more trade between our two countries. The best part of this deal is that under the iron-clad agreement, Canada agrees to foot the bill for Michigan’s portion of the bridge. I’ll say it again. That bridge won’t cost Michigan a thing.

Why would Canada agree to such a deal? They see how incredibly important the bridge is to their economy and their future. The same is true for us in Michigan and the United States. About 8,000 trucks cross the bridge into Canada each day, and all of that trade supports 237,000 jobs across Michigan. In fact, in 2011, $597 billion passed between the U.S. and Canada.

This bridge is a great deal for Michigan. Right off the bat, the project will create thousands of new jobs – including 10,000 Michigan jobs related to the project. And we’ll be looking to the private sector to do the work as they make bids to compete for the project. Have more questions about the bridge? Check out BuildthisBridge.com. You’ll find an FAQ, the agreement, video, and a list of more than 160 companies and leaders that support the project, including Ford, GM, Chrysler and politicians from both sides of the aisle.