...Or so says John Austin of the Brookings Institute. Covering last month's Great Lakes Summit, he talks about the importance of a second Detroit-Windsor bridge, and how Canada and the Great Lakes states need to jointly develop clean-tech technology.
"Overall, two topics dominated discussion by delegates as ripe for international teamwork.
One was building the 21st century transportation infrastructure the region needs as a platform for enhanced exports--and in particular building a state-of-the-art span connecting Detroit and Windsor, the world's highest dollar international trade crossing point. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and Canada's Consul General Roy Norton were pitching hard for the Michigan Legislature to follow Governor Rick Snyder's call, and vote final approval for the new bridge.
The New International Trade Crossing has been 10 years in the planning, and is strongly backed by business leaders and governments on both sides of the border. It seemed a done-deal when Gov. Snyder announced that Ontario would pay cash-strapped Michigan's share of the project, and in turn the U.S. Department of Transportation would let the Canadian dollars stand-in as Michigan's match for federally-funded highway projects across Michigan.
The project keeps being sabotaged by the aging billionaire Mattie Maroun (born 1927), owner of the equally aging Ambassador Bridge (built 1929), fighting hard to keep a monopoly on toll traffic."
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