TORONTO—Canada’s automotive supply manufacturers’ association is pleading with its members and associates in a bid to sway a Michigan vote that could overturn the new Windsor-Detroit bridge.
Addressing what the organization is calling a “critical automotive issue,” Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) president Steve Rodgers issued an open letter to industry pros asking for their help in a statewide vote that could put a halt on the recently approved New International Trade Crossing (NITC).
“On Nov. 6, our American business associates will be voting in the presidential election,” Rodgers’ letter reads. “On the same ballot, in Michigan, there will also be (an) initiative seeking to derail the NITC.”
The initiative, Proposal 6, will determine the fate of the much-maligned second bridge only a few months after it was approved by the Michigan and Canadian governments and before construction is even set to begin.
The proposal would see the approval of the NITC suspended until a majority of Michigan voters have their say on the project; something Rodgers says can’t happen consider how crucial a trade route the Detroit River crossing is.
“As manufacturers, we need to do everything possible to ensure the Proposal 6 question is not successful,” the letter reads.
Almost 30 per cent of all Canada-U.S. trade crosses the Detroit River each year.
A project that has been over 10 years in the making, the NITC has withstood its fair share of storms in recent years.
Perhaps the biggest threat to the trade route came from 85-year-old Michigan billionaire Matty Moroun, owner of the sole river crossing between the two cities, the Ambassador Bridge.
Through his Detroit International Bridge Co., Moroun has reportedly spent millions on attack ads and other propaganda in an attempt to block the building of a publicly-funded bridge.
After the opposition failed, Moroun’s company filed the measure to have the proposal placed on the ballot, and has continued to turn up the heat on the NITC and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder as the election draws nearer.
Rodgers refrained from naming Moroun or his company in his letter but acknowledged the campaign against the NITC and urged those casting votes to look past the distractions.
“While much rhetoric, distractions and falsehoods have been put forth by some parties attempting to mislead the Michigan taxpayer to derail the construction of the NITC … study after study has shown that a new crossing is desperately needed to support international trade, economic prosperity and employment growth in both countries,” the letter reads.
In closing, the letter urges any Canadians with business dealings or operations in Michigan to make those who vote aware of all the facts leading up to casting their ballots.
“If you have a sales office, distribution centres, manufacturing facilities or any other types of operations in Michigan, we ask you to pass this message onto your Michigan employees,” the letter concludes. “Please ensure that they are aware of these facts when they cast their ballot on and understand that a vote of ‘no’ is a vote in favour of the new bridge.”