The Ontario Trucking Association, concerned that the federal and Ontario government are losing the political will to deal with the congestion crisis at the Windsor-Detroit border, has fired off a letter to urging both levels of government to get their plans back on track.
Last September the two governments made a joint commitment to provide $300 million towards solving the congestion problem which Ontario Trucking Association President David Bradley called "meaningful short-term action."
Bradley encouraged the two governments to reinstill the sense of urgency they initially demonstrated.
"Further delay in solving the Windsor border crisis is unacceptable and dangerous for our economy," he states in his letter.
The Windsor-Detroit border is the busiest trade link in the world. It accounts for 25% of the total truck volume between Canada and the United States, nearly 30% of Canada’s $182 billion exports by road and over 32% of Canada’s $211 billion imports by road.
When the funding was announced a Joint Management Committee was given 60 days to develop recommendations for action. It submitted its Action Plan on November 25, 2002 and the plan was released to the public on December 20, 2002. The governments said at the time they would make a decision on implementation in the New Year.
"Two months later (some three months since you received the report) we have not seen any indication that any action is imminent," Bradley states. "On the contrary, it is becoming clear that action may be being postponed indefinitely."
On February 13 the Windsor Star indicated that provincial officials have said, "they need more time to study public input and have broken a vow to return quickly with a revised action plan to address the border traffic crisis."
"Further, we also detect a back-peddling at the federal level, at least in part reflecting concerns over confronting local political issues," Bradley adds.
Bradley also fired a shot a Windsor resident opposition to the plan.
"Those who oppose the Action Plan need to consider what maintaining the status quo means for that community. Will the air quality in any part of Windsor be better if, instead of moving the trucks more quickly and efficiently through Windsor, we continue to force them to sit and idle as they creep along Huron-Church Road? What will happen to Windsor’s city streets and the communities they pass through if we do nothing and force more and more traffic to try and get around the line-ups on Huron-Church by diverting onto local roads? What kind of standard of living will anyone have in Windsor if auto sector jobs are removed from Windsor in favour of US or Mexican locations because of the inefficiency of the border?"
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