Chrysler-Fiat boss backs DRIC bridge

WINDSOR — Advocates of a second bridge at the Windsor-Detroit Gateway have landed a big fish from the automotive world to help support their efforts.

Speaking at a private dinner this week sponsored by the Canadian Automotive Parts and Manufacturing Association and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said he supports the binational Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study team in its plans to construct a publicly controlled crossing a few kilometers from the private Ambassador Bridge.

"The North American automobile industry and the hundreds of thousands of employees in vehicle assembly and parts production depend on the smooth flow of just-in-time deliveries across this critical border gateway," said Marchionne, who grew up in Toronto.

"This proposed new crossing would add redundancy and unimpeded access from Ontario’s highways to Michigan’s interstates," he continued, noting the importance of protecting the combined $100 million in automotive goods that travels across the Windsor-Detroit border.

"The need for an additional crossing to handle current and future trade flows is widely acknowledged and it is imperative that this new crossing be completed as soon as possible. It’s important to our collective future." 

Chrysler commander Sergio Marchionne urges
decision makers to move on DRIC

Although some critics in Detroit, including the owner of the rival Ambassador Bridge, continue to press decision makers in the cash-strapped state to stop funding to DRIC, Marchionne instead urged the Michigan Legislature to authorize construction of the DRIC bridge.

"It is my sincere hope that the Legislature will pass the bill by the June 1st deadline," he said.

Marchionne also stressed the importance of improving U.S. and Canadian trade relations and took some time to promote Chrysler’s global alliance with Fiat and the Italian carmaker’s expansion into the North American market.

Fiat acquired a 35 percent stake of Chrysler from the U.S. government and has taken over the day-to-day management of the Detroit vehicle manufacturer.

"The primary benefit of this partnership will be the ability to achieve the critical mass necessary to produce adequate economies of scale." 

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