|House Transportation Committee approves bill for second international bridge in Detroit|
House Transportation Committee approves bill for second international bridge in Detroit
DETROIT - The Detroit Regional Chamber testified today before the House Transportation Committee in favor of legislation that would allow for public-private partnerships for construction and design of transportation projects, such as a new international bridge crossing in Metro Detroit.
A study released in February by the Michigan Department of Transportation reaffirmed the need for a second border crossing in the Detroit-Windsor corridor. House Bill 4961 was approved by the Transportation committee, and now heads to the full House for consideration.
"We need to build additional infrastructure to maintain and expand our global positioning as an international destination for trade and commerce," said Sarah Hubbard, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, who testified before the committee. "We believe public private partnerships bring new resources to our transportation infrastructure system and should be utilized for a variety of projects in Michigan, including a new bridge."
Hubbard pointed out to the committee that the Detroit/Windsor/Port Huron/Sarnia area is home to the busiest border crossing in North America in terms of volume of trade (more than $1 billion in goods crosses daily). Additionally, metro Detroit is home to major passenger vehicle traffic - between 3000 and 4000 Canadian health care workers entering the region every day.
"Border crossing capacity drives the economy of North America, and especially Michigan as the main thoroughfare for NAFTA and automotive trade," Hubbard said. "Transportation volumes follow the flow of the economy; and as the economy rebounds, capacity at ports, rail lines and border crossings is again growing from increased traffic."
"If we do not implement funding tools such as public private partnerships, we will lose business and population to states that do invest in transportation infrastructure. An additional bridge will bring more than 10,000 jobs to Michigan and increase the size of our economy."
Hubbard emphasized that Michigan's proximity to Canada is a competitive advantage for the state, and reminded legislators that Buffalo, New York is considering adding a fifth bridge, yet their volume of trade is far less.
"The logistics industry is extremely sensitive to the cost of bottlenecks and demands choices when entering the United States," she said. "The competition from an area like Buffalo to take advantage of cross-border trade should not be underestimated. Completion of a new bridge also will make the Wayne County Aerotropolis project stronger and allow us better leverage our world-class airport."
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