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West Michigan businesses support New International Trade Crossing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
(517) 335-6397
wurfels@michigan.gov 

LANSING, MI - Demonstrating that the need for an additional bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario is an issue of statewide economic importance, leading West Michigan businesses today announced their support of the New International Trade Crossing. 

Meijer Inc., Amway Corp., Steelcase Inc., Kellogg Co. and Wolverine World Wide Inc., emphasized the benefits to West Michigan and the entire state.  The proposed crossing is a public/private partnership with Canada that opens the door to more global exports from Michigan while creating no new debt for the state and no new taxes for Michigan taxpayers.

"This plan for a new International Trade Crossing will be a solid boost for the state's economy and its people," said Mark A. Murray, president of Meijer Inc.  "It helps us build on strengths this great state already has."

Governor Rick Snyder has secured an agreement with the federal government that allows Michigan to count $550 million Canada has offered to contribute to the project toward Michigan's federal match for road funds.  This will leverage as much as $2.2 billion in federal highway funds for Michigan to be used for statewide road repairs and infrastructure improvements. 

"For decades, Steelcase has been proud to serve the Canadian market. During 2010, we moved several hundred truckloads of product from our plants in West Michigan to our customers in Canada," said James P. Hackett, Steelcase Inc. president and chief executive officer. "We do everything we can to reduce the time spent in the border crossing process, including compliance with provisions of the U.S. Customs and Trade Protection Act that allow our trucks to enter in the fast lane at the border. But passing through customs is only part of the problem. Traffic volume has outpaced the capacity of the current system, leading to congestion and delays. The construction of an additional bridge between Michigan and Canada will provide immediate value to Michigan companies doing business with Canada."

In addition to establishing Michigan as a hub for global commerce, the project will help fuel Michigan's economy by generating an immediate demand for 10,000 construction jobs from across the state.

"For more than 50 years, Wolverine World Wide has been marketing its brands in the important Canadian market," said Blake W. Krueger, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Wolverine World Wide Inc. "Commerce with Canada continues to be a cornerstone of our brands' businesses, including Hush Puppies, Merrell, and Wolverine.  A new international bridge to Canada would enhance our ability to serve this vital market. Our company offers our full support to Governor Snyder and this important initiative."

"As a Michigan-based global company, Kellogg fully supports the proposed New International Trade Crossing," said John Bryant, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg Co.  "This initiative will enable Kellogg to better meet the needs of our North American business and consumers.  Additionally, it reinforces the important collaboration between businesses and Governor Snyder, our legislators and others working to help restore the Michigan economy."

Support for the project is widespread.  Proponents include Michigan's auto industry, a broad range of agricultural groups, leading newspapers, business and university executives, municipal and transportation leaders, and former Governors William Milliken, James Blanchard, John Engler and Jennifer Granholm.

"With the New International Trade Crossing, the Michigan and Canadian governments are taking a sensible and much-needed step to increase trade between our two countries," said Doug DeVos, president of Amway Corp.

Steve Van Andel, Amway Corp. chairman, added: "We strongly support this initiative, which will make Michigan more competitive."

 

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