MI businesses urge continued state support for new bridge

DETROIT — A group of several dozen prominent Michigan businesses and individuals have signed a petition that calls for continued funding for the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project.

DRIC is a binational bureaucratic committee tasked by the governments of Canada and the U.S. to study and select the location of a new international bridge crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ont.

The signatories of the letter — which include former Governor and Ambassador to Canada James Blanchard, Gov. John Engler, labor unions, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, and several logistics and manufacturing firms — urged the
Michigan state legislature "to make the (DRIC) project a funding priority, utilizing existing and creative mechanisms to ensure its completion." 

Yesterday’s huge Lions win aside, the region could use a big uplift right about now. The group noted Michigan’s economic plight and insisted a new crossing would help revitalize the region. Michigan is Canada’s largest individual American state trading partner.

"Manufacturing, trade and logistics mean jobs for Michigan," stated the letter. "The time to act is now before more jobs are lost and insufficient border infrastructure leads employers to take their jobs to other states, which are providing the necessary political and financial support to meet long term trade needs in a global economy."

Opponents of the new bridge, of which the owner of the private Ambassador Bridge is the most influential, have been trying to convince state legislators to kill funding to DRIC

They argue that reduced north-south truck traffic numbers and weak auto parts demand means there’s little justification for another bridge downriver. 

The Ambassador Bridge, meanwhile, is forging ahead with its own new twin span.

Last summer, DRIC formally announced its preferred location for the public-backed bridge. It settled on a structure spanning the Detroit River between the industrial Brighton Beach area in Windsor and Delray, an impoverished suburb just west of Detroit and a few kilometers away from the Ambassador. 

Similar letters in support of the DRIC bridge have been penned in Canada over the years. Most recently, the heads of the Ontario Trucking Association Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association called for a speedier completion of the DRIC project.

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