Gov. Rick Snyder and the government of Canada recently brokered an "interlocal" agreement to proceed with construction of a second bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. That plan has long been opposed by the ownership of the existing Ambassador Bridge between the two communities. Said owners, the Moroun family, have funded numerous media ads decrying the second bridge plan and, more recently, pushed a ballot measure requiring a statewide vote to allow Michigan to agree to any international bridges; that measure appears to be headed to the November ballot.
This ad makes the other side of the case, arguing the economic benefits for the second span backed by Snyder, the Canadians and major sectors of the business community. The Michigan Truth Squad reviewed the ad.
Who: Fund for Michigan Jobs
What: 30-second television and youtube ad
Truth Squad call: No foul
“More than just concrete and steel, this bridge is girded with hope and prosperity and thousands of new jobs."
The state of Michigan has reached an agreement with the Canadian government to construct a second Detroit-to-Windsor bridge two miles south of the Ambassador Bridge, although legal challenges and a possible ballot initiative remain as obstacles.
Building the bridge is a huge construction project and will create several thousand construction jobs for four years. According to a study by the Center for Automotive Research, the construction will create 6,000 jobs each of the first two years, and 5,100 in each of the final two years.
In addition, motorists across Michigan will see more orange barrels (meaning more construction jobs) and ultimately smoother roads because of additional infrastructure improvements. That's because the $550 million that Canada is putting up as Michigan's share of funding (to be repaid from bridge toll revenue) can be used by the state as matching funds to capture $2.2 billion in federal money that can be spent on roadway projects across the state. It's taxpayer money, but money that would be spent on roads in other states absent the Canadian contribution. CAR says that will generate an additional 6,600 jobs annually for four years.
CAR also estimates that 1,400 permanent jobs would be created to operate the bridge, and 6,800 permanent private jobs will be created.
"It's grounded in stronger national security and spans to a future fueled by the promise of international growth.”
More than $200 billion in trade moves between Canada and Michigan's border cities of Detroit and Port Huron each year, according to Anderson Economic Group.
The new bridge would add capacity at the border and reduce wait times for truckers moving products between Michigan and Canada. Those waits add to business costs and consumer prices. Increasing capacity not only improves current international trade; it encourages expansion.
“It's a connection built on trust and progress, to take us to a brighter future without costing Michigan taxpayers a dime.”
Section 11 of the agreement between Michigan and Canada states: "The Michigan Parties shall not be required to fund any International Crossing Costs, Michigan Interchange Costs, US Federal Plaza Costs, Crossing Authority Costs or International Authority Costs."
In addition, as noted earlier, the $550 million from Canada is expected to generate an additional $2.2 billion for road and bridge improvements across the state.
Overall impression: The "Say Yes to Michigan's Bridge" ad plays off the "Say Yes to Michigan" ads of the 1980s. It is a distinctly positive ad claiming that Michigan will be better, safer and economically stronger because of the bridge. There is evidence to support that claim. A new bridge will create short-term and permanent jobs, improve traffic flow for commerce, support road improvements in other areas and presumably encourage more international trade.
Truth Squad call: No foul