(Oakland County Press Release, Ferndale 115 News, July 9, 2012)
On June 14, 2012 Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson vetoed Board of Commissioners Miscellaneous Resolution 12149. The board resolution supported the Detroit International Bridge Company’s drive for a statewide referendum that would require voter approval of a new bridge or tunnel to Canada. Patterson, who rarely wields his veto pen, said the ballot initiative will hurt Oakland County and Michigan job growth.
“I’m strongly in favor of the New International Trade Crossing. I have been for years,” said Patterson. “Canada is our largest trading partner. Its deep water port in Halifax is drawing international trade from Europe, Asia and Africa. Those goods will enter the United States either here or in Buffalo. Let’s build the bridge here and be part of this boom in global trade.”
Patterson added that he has spoken with Canadian officials who told him they will not allow a second span in Windsor like the DIBC plans, but only a mile downriver, site of the proposed NITC.
In his veto message, Patterson outlined the reasons behind his veto:
• The Center for Automotive Research has conducted a study that indicates a new public bridge will create thousands of new jobs and billions in economic benefits. The Center estimated that the new public bridge project will create as many as 6,000 construction jobs for each of the first two years of construction and 5,100 jobs for each of the final two years of construction.
• The Detroit-Warren-Livonia MSA, which includes Oakland County, had the 4th highest amount of exports, nearly $44 billion, in 2010. Exports to Canada made up 35% of those exports.
• Today, there are more than 80 Canadian-owned firms that have operations in Oakland County. These firms employ more than 4,000 workers. These firms include Magna, TD Auto Finance and Canadian National Railway.
• Another vote of the people is not needed. Article 3, Section 5 (of the Michigan Constitution), adopted by affirmative vote of the People, confers upon the state, any political subdivision thereof, and upon any governmental authority or any combination thereof, the power to enter into agreements for the performance, financing or execution of their respective functions with the Dominion of Canada, or any political subdivision thereof.
In addition, the NITC has the support of Governor Snyder and former Governors Milliken, Blanchard, Engler, and Granholm. The new bridge also has the support of Oakland County businesspeople such as Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley; Al Kiriluk, chairman of the Transportation Committee at the Oakland County Business Roundtable; and Jim Clarke, chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Oakland County Business Roundtable.
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