Collaboration Letter to President Obama

June 27, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Mr. President,

Labor and business organizations, companies and municipalities, all together, urge you to help secure funding for the U.S. Federal Plaza associated with the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.  This project is vital for the continued economic security and prosperity of the United States and Canada.  Without assurances of funding from the U.S. Government for the plaza, this project will be significantly delayed.

We very much appreciate the work that your administration has done so far to move this project forward.  The U.S. Departments of Transportation, State, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency have all been timely in their assistance and relevant permitting processes.  The recent trip by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson shows us how important U.S. Canadian border issues are to your administration.  We ask that you again lend your hand to advance this project.

Because of your work on the Beyond the Borders Action Plan, you are keenly aware of the national importance of Canada as a trading partner.  Canada exchanged with the United States more than $616 billion in goods in 2012, $131 billion of which crossed the Detroit-Windsor border. The Public Border Operators Association projects that truck traffic between the United States and Canada will more than double in the next 30 years.

This is not just a Federal issue or just a Michigan issue.  The impact on many U.S. States is just as significant.  Canada is the principal importer of goods for 38 states in America.  The other twelve States rank Canada in their top 5 export destinations.  Over one-fifth of that commerce comes through Detroit, Michigan.

The NITC is also about people.  It is a gateway towards a brighter future in the City of Detroit.  Many people will have the opportunity to train in the skilled trades through new and novel programs.  Thousands of people will have the opportunity to work directly and indirectly on the project.  The NITC would also be a key part of a transportation, distribution, and logistics hub that would produce long term job creation and economic growth.

Currently, more than eight million jobs across the United States rely on U.S.-Canadian trade.  Investing in the NITC will ensure that this number grows.  In the long term, experts predict an exponential growth in jobs associated with an expansion in Canadian trade and availability of efficient infrastructure as a result of the NITC.

The projected increase in jobs, traffic, and trade will transpire only if the United States and Canada continue to collaborate and improve cross-border infrastructure. The Ambassador Bridge alone, which carried 21.3 percent of total trade between the two countries on four traffic lanes in 2012, cannot effectively bear the rise in truck transit. The Ambassador Bridge does not have a plan to increase border capacity.  The NITC will add six traffic lanes to provide another avenue that promises to protect this vital trade route.

We make three requests of you and your administration.  First, please show your commitment that the U.S. will fund, in some way, the Federal Plaza on the Detroit side of the bridge.  Second, please take steps to ensure Customs and Border Patrol and the Government Services Agency issue the final Program of Requirement (POR) that will allow for the determination of cost of the plaza construction.  And finally, please appoint someone within your administration to coordinate the Federal activities for this important project.

Detroit is in the middle of a fantastic rebound.  This bridge will provide fuel to keep our economic engine moving forward, but it will also be a symbol of the rebirth of the city and the region.  We welcome your continued partnership in helping to make the New International Trade Crossing a reality.


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