May 31, 2010

The only people aginst building the bipartisan DRIC bridge are Republicans in the Michigan Legislature

It’s not often that Republicans and Democrats can agree on something, but one of those things they do agree on is the need for the planned Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge over the Detroit river between Canada and Windsor.

The majority of Democrats in the Michigan Legislature support DRIC, former Governors support it - like Democratic Gov. Jim Blanchard and Republican Gov. John Engler - and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson supports it.

Even our neighbors recognize the importance of building a second span to the Midwest. The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a resolution sponsored by Majority Whip Steve Buehrer, R-Delta, which urges support for the construction of a new Detroit River bridge between the United States and Canada

“Right now our primary focus must be on jobs,“ said Buehrer in a press release. “Improved transportation links with Canada have the potential to create billions of dollars in trade and thousands of jobs for Ohio and the U.S. Likewise, any thing that impedes trade with Canada has the potential to cost jobs and slow the economy.”

Senate Resolution 223 urges the Michigan Legislature to act swiftly to authorize the DRIC and ensure that people and goods can continue to move safely and efficiently across the border. The resolution, which passed the Senate 32-0, states that “a modern border crossing that can support the ever-increasing amount of trade and travel between the United States and Canada is essential to the economies of Ohio and the Midwest.”

It appears the only people aginst building the DRIC bridge are Republicans in the Michigan Legislature and Grosse Pointe billionaire and Republican benefactor Matty Moroun, who owns the 81-year-old Ambassador Bridge and the only private border crossing in the U.S.

On Wednesday the House approved House Bill 4961 that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada and a private sector developer/financier to build the DRIC bridge by a slim vote of 56-51, just one vote above the minimum, and not a single Republican voted with the Democrats to save and create 10,000 Michigan jobs. Passage of the bill is the first step in building the DRIC.

The bill is expected to have a hard time in the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate, thanks to Moroun advocate, Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt.

HB 4961 was not officially referred to the Transportation Committee from the House as of Friday, but the committee posted a meeting for Tuesday with the bills on the agenda pending referral. The Transportation Committee meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday June 1 in Room 110, Farnum Building in Lansing. The committee meetings are open to the public.

Call your State Senator and tell him to vote to create and save 10,000 Michigan jobs.

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