Study: New Detroit-Windsor bridge will boost Michigan economy by $2.2 billion

Jun 14, 2012

A new bridge crossing connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario will create more than 8,000 permanent jobs, according to a new study.

The study comes from the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, an industry-sponsored group.

The CAR study says a new crossing would add more than 12,000 temporary jobs in each of the projected four years in which the bridge is built and boost the region’s long-term economy to the tune of $2.2 billion a year by adding substantial freight shipment capacity.

The Canadian government has long supported a new crossing, calling it vital to the long-term future of the North American economy.

“If you don’t have certainty in transportation infrastructure, companies will simply look elsewhere to locate, if their business plan relies heavily on moving things back and forth,” Roy Norton, Canada’s Counsel General in Detroit, said Thursday.

Bill Storves, manager of Ford’s supply chain and plant management operations in North America, says traffic at the current Ambassador Bridge is too often backed-up. And that can compromise operations, especially when plants on both sides of the border are running at full capacity.

“The benefit is really congestion relief,” Storves said. “Moving the congestion out of downtown Windsor and downtown Detroit, and direct freeway-to-freeway access.”

Canadian officials—including Prime Minister Stephen Harper--and Governor Snyder are expected to announce a deal to build a new bridge in both Detroit and Windsor Friday.

It’s a deal that will go around the state legislature, which voted down the idea of a new bridge last year.

Owners of the competing Ambassador Bridge fiercely oppose a new crossing. They say a new bridge will be a costly government boondoggle, and a steep decline in traffic volumes since the 9/11 attacks makes it unnecessary.