With the signing of a presidential permit from the Obama Administration, the new Detroit River International Crossing has cleared the final hurdle and is ready to begin long awaited construction.
Currently the Ambassador Bridge – owned by Matty Moroun – is the only viable point of entry and exit that trucks can use in this region to transport products back and forth between the two countries.
“This is huge. If you think about this bridge, and we call it a bridge, but it’s much more than a bridge to me. It’s about jobs and our future,” said Michigan Gov. Snyder. “We have a $70-billion relationship with Canada [and] they’re a wonderful partner, they’re our biggest partner, they’re our best partner and friend in terms of international relations, and we should be proud of that.”
Snyder explained that roughly 200,000 Michiganders make a living through trade with Canada and that this number would begin to grow dramatically because of the long-term benefits that the new bridge will provide.
“In the short term though, this is a construction project that we should all be proud of that will generate thousands of jobs for Michiganders and for Canadians … this is a win for all, long-term and short-term,” said Snyder who expressed gratitude to the Government of Canada.
“On behalf of the citizens of the state of Michigan, we appreciate your effort, you being proactive about how we were going to finance this project and make it,” said Snyder. “This project would not be moving forward without the Government of Canada and more importantly the support of the Canadian people to put this together.”
Representing the Government of Canada was Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt who expressed that the signing of the presidential permit was a “real significant step forward for everybody.”
“We are now closer to a bridge that will support our trade and our traffic and it’s the busiest Canada US commercial border crossing,” said Raitt. “There’s 8,000 trucks a day that cross over this border. In addition, it’s about a quarter of all Canada US trade, so it’s the world’s largest two-way trading relationship and it crosses right here at Windsor-Detroit.”
As a member of the governing party of Canada, Essex MP Jeff Watson was extended an opportunity to speak to issue at the press event.
“This is great news for Windsor and Essex country. For our two countries, it’s about absolutely great news,” said Watson who added that the new bridge represents a “lifeline for our future.”
“In the short-term … this means a lot of construction jobs [and] with high unemployment in our region, that’s going to be significant to have more people working, bringing home good paychecks, supporting their families,” said Watson.
While Windsor-West MP Brian Masse was in Montreal during the announcement for the NDP National Convention, he did release a statement expressing how significant the significant the signing of the permit was for the region.
“As we enter into this next phase we need to ensure that our investment develops into a signature infrastructure project yielding economic benefits for the host communities as well as the entire North American economy,” said Masse who added that he would continue to work with all stakeholders to “ensure that the new crossing is accountable to the public and enhances the economic, environmental and cultural prosperity and partnership of both Canada and the United and our regional border community.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.