Gov. Rick Snyder and a broad-based coalition that includes agricultural, automotive, business, labor and political leaders today said it is time to move forward with building the New International Trade Crossing bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Standing on the porch of the Grand Hotel in view of the Mackinac Bridge, the governor said the Mackinac Bridge -- much like the newly proposed bridge -- also had skeptics who questioned the need and whether it could pay for itself with tolls.
"The Mackinac Bridge has been a shining example of what a modern bridge can do for our state," Snyder said. "It has lived up to its expectations. Now it's time to build a new bridge to Canada that will provide efficient and reliable infrastructure to the largest trading partner of Michigan and America."
According to a report by the U.S. International Trade Administration, in 2010:
Trade with Canada supported 237,000 Michigan jobs;
Trade between Canada and Michigan grew to $62 billion - a 42 percent increase over 2009;
Michigan and Canada were each other's largest trading partners; and
Michigan exported more goods to Canada than any other state.
"Both economies are deeply connected and heavily reliant on the on the free flow of trade through the Detroit-Windsor corridor," Snyder said. "Forty-nine percent of all Michigan exports are sold right across the border in Canada. In addition, building the bridge will generate an immediate demand for 10,000 Michigan construction jobs. Let's get this done now."
The governor commended Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, who today introduced legislation to move forward with the New International Trade Crossing.
Advocates of the New International Trade Crossing are numerous and include Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, automotive suppliers, West Michigan businesses including Amway, Steelcase, Meijer and Wolverine World Wide Inc., chambers of commerce from Marquette to Muskegon to Detroit and statewide business and agri-businesses including Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Manufactures Association and Business Leaders for Michigan, labor unions including the Michigan AFL-CIO and political leaders across the state.
In 2009, the Detroit metropolitan area exported $10.1 billion to Canada, the most of any metropolitan region in the United States. But the partnership does not only benefit Detroit. Other major metropolitan areas that exported to Canada include Grand Rapids ($2.4 billion), Saginaw ($1.5 billion), Kalamazoo ($1.2 billion), Holland-Grand Haven ($1.2 billion), Ann Arbor ($900 million), and Lansing ($715 million).
Although equipment distribution and manufacturing industries are a large part of the economic picture, they are not the only industries making an economic impact. In 2009, Canadian citizens made 1.2 million trips to Michigan and spent $258 million. Likewise, Michigan residents made 1.1 million trips to Canada and spent $333 million. Combined, consumer and tourism traffic is responsible for injecting more than $591 million into both economies.
For a full list of the more than 140 business, labor and political supporters, go to NewInternationalTradeCrossing.com.