DETROIT, (Sept. 15, 2004) — James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, told Michigan business and political leaders Monday that the Jobs Tunnel project to expand freight capacity between Windsor and Detroit is needed because “we are facing a gridlock crisis at the world’s busiest border crossing.”
In an address to the Detroit Economic Club at Cobo Center, the leader of North America’s largest transportation union urged prompt action by officials to let work begin on the Detroit River rail and truck route. “To preserve and expand manufacturing jobs in the Michigan-Ontario corridor, we must increase capacity across the border.”
The private Jobs Tunnel project plans to convert existing rail tunnels into a two-lane truck route linking Detroit and Windsor. A new train tunnel would be built alongside for double-stacked freight cars. Construction is estimated to cost $430 million.
The Teamsters leader has pushed for the new border route for commercial shipments since last year and commented on it at a Michigan Manufacturing Summit hosted by the governor in Plymouth last December. “Thousands of trucks are backed up on the Ambassador Bridge,” he said Monday at Cobo Center. “One solution is the conversion of the old Detroit-Windsor train tunnel to a dedicated truck tunnel.”
Last month, Today’s Trucking reported on a study — commissioned by the Jobs Tunnel project and conducted by Dr. Alex Metcalf, president of Transportation and Economics Management System — that found, when implemented, the project will reduce annual truck emissions reduced by 50 per cent. The study said it would also eliminate 75 million hours of truck delays, which will save the trucking industry shippers and consumers of $3 billion in fuel, time and other costs.
The Jobs Tunnel is one several plans being touted by various companies. In August, the owners of the Ambassador Bridge filed permit applications for a second, $395 million span running parallel to the bridge.
— with files from Truckinginfo.com
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