Stabenow, Levin, Michigan Delegation Join Together to Urge Department of Transportation to Reconsider NWA Application
Proposed route would establish non-stop service from Detroit to Shanghai
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Carl Levin (D-MI), along with 14 members of Michigan's Congressional delegation, today sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters urging her to reconsider the decision declining Northwest Airlines' application for additional passenger service frequencies between the United States and China. In September, the delegation sent a letter in support of Northwest's application to provide nonstop service from Detroit to Shanghai. The most recent letter outlined the economic benefits of such a route and urged the Secretary to consider establishing nonstop service from Michigan in the future.
"Northwest's proposed Detroit-Shanghai route is critical to manufacturing and commercial interests in the State of Michigan that need improved access to the global marketplace," the Delegation said in the letter. "We urge you to reconsider this decision or secure new authority for Northwest to bring new nonstop service to Detroit and the State of Michigan."
The full text of the letter follows:
January 17, 2007
The Honorable Mary Peters
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Madame Secretary:
We are writing to express our disappointment with the Department's tentative decision to award the only available China service to United, which already operates four daily flights to China from two major U.S. hubs. Northwest's proposed Detroit-Shanghai route is critical to manufacturing and commercial interests in the State of Michigan that need improved access to the global marketplace.
Manufacturing business links between Michigan (and the Midwest) and Shanghai are more significant than the other areas under consideration. The Detroit (Midwest)-Shanghai market has immense business travel activity. For instance, 500 companies in Michigan and northern Ohio alone already have a strong presence in Shanghai. Of the 24 fortune 500 companies in Michigan and northern Ohio, 17 have operations in China, and many have made significant investment in the Shanghai region. General Motors alone has investments in China totaling over $2 billion, and Dow Chemical, Visteon and Whirlpool have all established their Asian headquarter offices in Shanghai.
In addition, over 20 Chinese companies currently have operations in southeast Michigan.
Mainland China currently ranks as Michigan's second-largest export market in Asia behind Japan, and the state's fifth-largest export market overall. Michigan's manufactured and agricultural exports to mainland China totaled nearly $700 million in 2005 have grown by 252 percent since 1999.
The positive economic benefits of this flight will not only touch metro Detroit but will reach beyond to businesses and consumers across Michigan, generating an estimated $160 million annual economic impact.
New nonstop service at Detroit is important not only to Michigan -- but creates the greatest benefits for the entire eastern region of the United States. The record showed that Northwest's proposal would have benefited the most passengers, served the most U.S. cities, and provided the quickest and most efficient routings to China. And very significantly, manufacturing industries so struggling in the United States would be especially helped by new Detroit-Shanghai service, particularly in their efforts to break through Chinese trade barriers and sell their U.S.-made products in China.
We urge you to reconsider this decision or secure new authority for Northwest to bring new nonstop service to Detroit and the State of Michigan.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep. Dave Camp, Rep. Dale Kildee, Rep. Candice Miller, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. John Dingell, Rep. Joe Knollenberg, Rep. Vern Ehlers, Rep. Tim Walberg, Rep. Fred Upton, Rep. Bart Stupak, Rep. Pete Hoekstra