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Snyder urges feds to act on new bridge, immigration proposal

portrait of Governor Snyder

Governor says plans to build a new bridge connecting Detroit and Canada have hit a snag—and he’s getting frustrated with the federal government.

The Governor spoke to the Detroit Regional Chamber while President Obama signed the new farm bill in Lansing Friday.

In 2012, Governor Snyder went around the state legislature and signed an agreement with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to build the New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Per that agreement, Canada would foot the bill to build bridge. But the US was supposed to pick up the tab for the customs inspection plaza on the American side of the border—and the Governor says that’s become an issue.

“Well, the US government--who will use this plaza to protect the United States--has basically said they don’t want to pay for the plaza, nor do they want to pay rent for the plaza,” Snyder said, adding: “Does that make sense to you?”

Nonetheless, the Governorinsists the bridge project is “moving along” more or less on schedule, and should get done by 2020.

Canadian officials announced last week that the country will start buying land in Detroit’s Delray area for the project, despite the uncertainty surrounding the US customs plaza.

Snyder said there’s something else President Obama can do for Detroit, too—set aside special work visas Snyder wants to lure high-skilled immigrants to the city.

“The President in his State of the Union address actually said he hopes to be very proactive with executive orders [this year],” Snyder said. “This is an opportunity to do something potentially by executive order.”

In the rest of his address to the Detroit Chamber, Snyder actually talked little about Detroit or its bankruptcy, focusing more on education funding, trade, and pushing for road improvements.

Overall, Snyder stuck to his message that Michigan is the “comeback state.” The Governor officially launched his re-election campaign sounding that theme earlier this week.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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