Want More Jobs and a Stronger Michigan Economy? Build the Bridge to Canada

by Rick Snyder For Michigan

Today’s national jobs report shows that the U.S. economy is still growing slowly and millions remain unemployed. The good news is that there’s one big thing we can do in Michigan to help create new jobs — build the new bridge to Canada, helping to increase trade with our neighbor to the north and put people to work, all at no cost to Michigan taxpayers.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder explains how the bridge will positively impact our state:

Today, we have an opportunity to greatly improve our border crossing, give businesses more of a reason to grow and expand in our state, and help make Michigan the global transportation hub that it can and should be. And we can do it at no cost to the people of Michigan, thanks to our friends in Canada. The New International Trade Crossing will be a great accomplishment for the people of our state, and it will be another giant step toward reinventing Michigan.

Trade with Canada supports 257,000 jobs across Michigan, and the bridge project is expected to create 10,000 jobs related to building the bridge, 750 long-term jobs, and generate and/or preserve as many as 25,000 jobs within Michigan. The best part is, it won’t cost Michigan a thing. That’s because Canada has agreed to provide up to $550 million to cover the State of Michigan’s share of the cost. And Michigan has no responsibility to repay Canada’s funding.

Given all the great things about the bridge, it’s not surprising that the list of those who support the project is growing day by day. It includes Ford, GM, Chrysler, Meijer, The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, The Grand Rapids Press, former governors, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and other community leaders and organizations. Bill Ford explains how the bridge will help Ford Motor Company:

This will help our business enormously. Ford Motor Company alone sends about 600 trucks a day across the bridge, and they get hung up often, particularly on the Windsor side. Any time you get hung up like that, it costs you time and it costs you money. This will be a huge boost to us as we send parts and powertrains back and forth across the border.

Read more about the benefits of the bridge at BuildThisBridge.com. Here’s a list of those who support the New International Trade Crossing:

Access Engineering
Advanced Geomatics
Alfred Benesch & Company
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan
American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc.
Amway Corp.
Ann Arbor SPARK
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce
Argus-Press and Guide
Associated General Contractors of Michigan
Auto Dealers of Michigan
Automation Alley
Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association
Backstrom McCarley Berry & Co., LLC
Barton Malow
BC CAL KAL Port Development Corporation
Battle Creek Unlimited
Building Owners and Managers Association of Metro Detroit
Business Leaders for Michigan
Campbell Soup Company
Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Automotive Partnership Council
Canadian Industrial Transportation Association
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Canadian Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association
Canadian Teamsters, Local 879
CCN Matthews News Distribution Experts
Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg
CH2M Hill
City of Sault Ste Marie
City of Wixom
Clairvoyant Energy
Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc.
Consumers Energy
Corradino Group of Michigan, Inc.
Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce
County Road Association of Michigan
David Bing, Mayor of Detroit
Dearborn Press & Guide
Delta Airlines
Delta County Area Chamber of Commerce
Detroit City Council
Detroit Free Press
Detroit Logistics Company
Detroit News
Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry
DLZ Michigan, Inc.
Dow Corning Corporation
Downtown Development Authority of the City of River Rouge
Economic Alliance for Michigan
Eddie Francis, Mayor of Windsor
Elaham Shayota LLC
Elsey Construction Products
Evans Group
Ex-Imp Global
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc.
Ford Motor Company
Gannett Fleming of Michigan, Inc.
Gateway Communities Development Collaborative
General Motors
Governor Rick Snyder
Governor Jennifer Granholm
Governor James Blanchard
Governor John Engler
Governor William Milliken
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Rapids Press
Grand Valley Metro Council
Great Lakes Commission
GreenStone Farm Credit Services
Herman Miller
HH Engineering, Ltd.
HNTB Michigan, Inc.
Holland Area Chamber of Commerce
Honda North America, Inc.
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 324
International Union, UAW
Jackson Citizen Patriot
Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
James Group International
Kellogg Company
Kevin Hinkley, Mayor of Wixom
L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive
Laborers International Union of North America, Local 625
Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Lake Superior Community Partnership
Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
Lansing State Journal
Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Masco Corporation
Meijer, Inc.
Meritor, Inc.
Michigan Aggregates Association
Michigan Agri-Business Association
Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc.
Michigan Association of Counties
Michigan Bankers Association
Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Farm Bureau
Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association
Michigan Manufacturers Association
Michigan Milk Producers Association
Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights
Michigan State AFL-CIO
Monroe County Industrial Development Corporation
Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association
Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce
National Association of Manufacturers
Northwest Consultants, Inc.
Novi Chamber of Commerce
NTH Consultants, Inc.
Oakland County Business Roundtable
Ohio Senate
OHM Advisors
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Ontario Road Builders’ Association
Ontario Trucking Association
Opus International Consultants, Inc.
Original Equipment Suppliers Association
Parsons Brinkerhoff
Potato Growers of Michigan Inc.
Robert A. Ficano, Wayne County Executive
Robert M. Thompson
Road Commission for Oakland County
Ryder Supply Chain Solutions
Sault Area Chamber of Commerce
Somat Engineering, Inc.
Southern Wayne Regional Chamber of Commerce
Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition
Steelcase, Inc.
Steve Tobocman, former State Representative
Surveying Solutions, Inc.
TesTech, Inc.
The Daily Tribune
The Holland Sentinel
The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc.
The Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council
The News Herald
The Right Place
Toledo Blade
Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce
Traverse City Record-Eagle
TY Lin International
Universal Forestry Products
URS Corporation
URS Corporation Great Lakes
Utility Workers Union of America
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Wayne County Commission
Wolverine World Wide, Inc.
Xtreme Power

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.

Bill Ford: Michigan must eliminate personal property tax, build new bridge to Canada

Ann Arbor.com

By Nathan Bomey
Business News Director

Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. today endorsed the elimination of Michigan’s personal property tax and urged the Michigan Legislature to authorize the construction of a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

Ford, speaking this afternoon at the Washtenaw Economic Club at Washtenaw Community College, outlined his support for the elimination of the personal property tax, which taxes companies’ equipment and hits manufacturing companies particularly hard.

He said Michigan is at a “competitive disadvantage” to other Midwestern states because of the personal property tax.

“These are taxes that we pay on machinery or equipment,” he said. “Michigan’s reliance on this property tax places an additional burden on anybody who’s thinking about investing in this state.”

His statement comes as Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature are in the early stages of considering how to change or eliminate the personal property tax — and how to replace the revenue, which is a large part of most municipalities’ budgets.

On Friday, the Ann Arbor area’s state representatives and senators — three Republicans and three Democrats — agreed that the personal property tax needs to go. But they all want to replace the lost taxes with another revenue source.

Ford also called on the Michigan Legislature to authorize a public-private partnership that would build a new bridge over the Detroit River, in part by using $550 million from Canada.

All the major U.S. automakers have endorsed the new bridge, which is supported by Snyder and most Democrats but has been blocked by legislative Republicans who question whether the bridge will be economically viable.

The bridge proposal has also faced fierce opposition from the Ambassador Bridge owners, who have fought the bridge with a multi-million advertising campaign.

Both sides have debated whether additional capacity is needed over the Detroit River. Supporters say many Michigan companies would benefit economically by additional capacity over the river. Opponents, including the Ambassador Bridge owners, say traffic is down and a new government-owned bridge is not needed.

Ford said the Dearborn-based automaker sends about 600 trucks across the U.S.-Canada border every day.

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,” he said. “To compete as a world-class community, we also need world-class infrastructure.”

Ford, who became the first major business leader to endorse Snyder during the Ann Arbor venture capitalist’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, also offered a brief critique of a tax-credit-free tax policy.

Snyder cut Michigan business taxes by about $1.7 billion, but he also eliminated most of the state’s future business tax credits, choosing to maintain an annual pool of $100 million for all tax incentives instead of maintaining individual tax credit programs for specific industries.

Ford today called on the state not to abandon “tax incentives that encourage and create new jobs.”

Nationally, Ford, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, called on the U.S. to form a national energy policy.

“People will say we don’t want to pick winners and losers, and I’m respectful of that, but within that framework I think we can have a discussion about where do we want to go as a nation and how do we get there,” Ford said.

Ford declined to discuss Ford Motor Co.’s pending contract with the United Auto Workers union, except to say that social media sites like Facebook have changed the communication strategy during contract discussions.

“Everybody gets a voice out very quickly and information whether real or partial gets out immediately,” Ford said. “It’s a new world. And it’s a challenge in some respects, it’s also great for information flow and democracy in another sense.”