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Michigan's former governors join together to support international bridge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
Office: 517-335-6397
Email: wurfels@michigan.gov 

LANSING, MI - In an extraordinary demonstration of bipartisan agreement, Michigan's four former governors today jointly announced their support of a new international trade crossing to connect Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. 

Governor Rick Snyder announced his support for plans to build a second bridge over the Detroit River in his State of the State address last week.  Snyder announced he had secured an agreement with the federal government to allow Michigan to count $550 million Canada has offered to invest in the project toward Michigan's federal match for road funds.  This development will ease the burden on the budget and ensure the state will have funds for statewide road repairs and infrastructure improvements in future years. 

"This new bridge means not only immediate jobs and long-term economic growth for southeast Michigan, but for the entire state," Governor William G. Milliken said.  "Michigan's long-time partnership with Canada is one of our state's most important economic assets, and this crossing builds and strengthens it."

In 2009, Michigan did roughly $44 billion dollars in trade with Canada.  More than 237,000 Michigan jobs are directly connected to trade with Canada.  One out of every eight jobs in Detroit is in the export industry and in Grand Rapids it is one out of every seven. 

"This project secures our economic future and, in the short-term, will employ thousands of people who need work and can stimulate our economy," Governor James J. Blanchard said.  "It's manufacturing, it's agriculture, it's food processing, it's high-tech, it's tourism, it's rebuilding the neighborhoods and the community of southwest Detroit, it's Michigan's future, and it's now!"

The construction portion of the project will create an estimated 10,000 jobs for Michigan workers and support an additional 25,000 Michigan jobs once construction is complete.

"We need a new international trade crossing," Governor John Engler said.  "It will open trade and open markets, which is exactly what Michigan needs right now.  We have to access these global markets."

"Michigan job providers say they need the crossing, Michigan workers want the jobs it will create, and building the bridge will solidify good relations with our neighbors in Canada," said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.  "Universal support for the bridge should make final approval of this project a no-brainer for state lawmakers." 

Half of all daily trade between the United States and Canada travels through the Michigan-Ontario border and nearly 60 percent of all Michigan exports go to or through Canada.

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