Michigan Governor Rick Snyder loves to sing the praises of the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) in terms of what it will supposedly do to support American industry and create jobs at home. But as we know, the governor is in the business of hiding the truth when it comes to the NITC, and his recent move to avoid Buy America requirements — announced, ironically, on the eve of the Labor Day weekend — is no exception.
Remember, the governor is counting on a $550 million loan from Canada to qualify for U.S. federal highway matching funds. It turns out, back in July, Gov. Snyder submitted an application to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) seeking a waiver to the Buy America requirements. These requirements stipulate that in order to receive matching federal highway aid for a construction project, the project must use only U.S.-produced iron and steel. But with Canada controlling the purse-strings on the NITC, and no legal guards in place to protect Michigan otherwise, the governor simply has no power to dictate that any U.S. produced materials are used, let alone U.S. workers employed. And yet, the governor has the audacity to suggest his waiver request to use Canadian – not American – iron and steel “will support economic growth in the United States.”
Keep in mind that according to the Crossing Agreement the governor signed with Canada in June (bypassing the State Legislature, which passed two laws expressly prohibiting such a move), Canada will establish a Crossing Authority that will oversee the design, construction, and operation of the NITC.
This means Canada will control the sourcing of construction materials and labor for the bridge.
Without the Buy America requirement in place, is a Canadian authority likely to utilize American iron and steel over Canadian equivalents? We sure don’t think so. And if they’re not using American steel, what makes anyone think they’ll use American labor?
The bottom line: The NITC will disproportionally benefit Canadians at the expense of Michiganders and workers across the United States.
It’s not hard to see why the governor sought to hide this fact from the people of Michigan by announcing it during the rush of the holiday weekend.
Comments on the proposed Buy America waiver are being accepted for only 15 days, through September 17. Visit the FHWA website and post your comment to let them know that it’s unacceptable to sell out the domestic iron and steel industry and Americans who need jobs to support an unnecessary bridge to Canada.