industry and labor officials recently discussed a proposal to convert a tunnel
between Detroit and Canada into a truck-only border crossing, according to a
statement from the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership.
all-day discussion, which took place Dec. 8 at the Michigan Manufacturing
Technology Center in Plymouth, involved more than three dozen business and
labor leaders. It was part of the Michigan Manufacturing Summit in Plymouth,
MI, called by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
event was organized to explore ways of keeping the state competitive in a
governor embraces a new border crossing as one vital step.
project calls for converting a rail tunnel under the Detroit River into a
two-lane truck route. A new train tunnel would be built alongside it.
in the state refer to the proposal as “The Jobs Tunnel” because the $430
million project, financed largely with private investments, is designed to
protect and create jobs. It would be ready two years after construction begins,
doubling the number of truck-only lanes now available between Detroit and
Windsor, Ontario, the world's busiest commercial crossing, with more than $92
billion in annual trade.
this fall, a 57-page research report by five economists added to the sense of
immediacy surrounding border transportation discussions.
freight and transportation specialists, headed by Michael H. Belzer of Wayne
State University, found that the Ambassador Bridge system – including access
roads, toll plazas and checkpoints – is generally “at 92 percent of capacity
... (and) significantly exceeds capacity during many hours of the average
team projected The Jobs Tunnel would help southeast Michigan and southwestern
Ontario save 9,000 to 12,000 automotive industry jobs that could be jeopardized
by the present delays and added costs of moving parts and vehicles across the
a remedy for the chronic gridlock, the economists predicted, manufacturers
would relocate production to other regions.
ahead with construction of The Jobs Tunnel can offset projected economic decline
and keep good manufacturing jobs in this region longer,” Belzer said recently.
“The sooner the construction begins, the sooner the region will be poised to
compete and grow.”
project has pulled in support from other areas as well.
P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, spoke to the
event in support of the project.
Jobs Tunnel is so important to our state’s economy,” Hoffa said. “The tunnel
will double truck capacity, employing drivers while speeding the flow of goods.
With nearly $100 billion in trade crossing that border every year, this is an
improvement that is long overdue.”
details of the project can be found on www.thejobstunnel.com.