Detroit automakers, unions urge Obama to fund customs plaza for new bridge

Detroit Free Press (MI) |

June 30--The Detroit Three automakers and top labor leaders are asking President Barack Obama to help secure federal funding for a U.S. Customs inspection plaza on the Detroit side of a new government-owned international bridge between there and Canada.

GM, Ford and Chrysler along with the UAW International Union and Michigan AFL-CIO sent a joint letter to the White House late last week calling on the Obama administration to provide support and money for the plaza. The letter, which included signatures of other Michigan businesses and labor groups, also asked the administration to have a point person for the bridge project and finalize a procedural requirement that would allow a cost estimate for the plaza's construction.

Plans for the customs plaza, estimated to cost $250 million, have been slow to take shape despite lobbying in Washington for it by Michigan and Canadian leaders.

While Canada has agreed to front almost all of the public money to build the bridge, financing for the U.S. customs plaza is still up in the air.

"Detroit is in the middle of a fantastic rebound," the letter reads. "The 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."


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