A study released this morning by the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research says a proposed new bridge over the Detroit River would create an estimated 13,000 direct construction jobs during its four-year construction and an additional 8,200 permanent jobs once it’s in operation.
That’s 2,000 more construction jobs than the Michigan Department of Transportation and state officials previously estimated that the $2.1 billion New International Trade Crossing would create.
The numbers include direct and indirect jobs, based on industry formulas for job creation.
The CAR study predicts that more than 33,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created in Michigan and elsewhere in the U.S. during construction of the bridge between 2013 and 2016.
MDOT’s studies also have said a new bridge would preserve or create 25,000 to 40,000 other jobs once the span is complete.
Construction jobs have been one of the leading justifications to build the span, along with protecting and bolstering trade and providing redundancy for the nearby Ambassador Bridge.
The CAR study is being released a day before Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to be in Detroit to announce a deal with Canada to build the bridge without approval from the Michigan Legislature, where the span has been opposed.
Financial support for the study came from the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the consulate general of Canada, with additional support from the Detroit Regional Chamber.
The study can be viewed at cargroup.org.
It predicts that jobs directly and indirectly related to construction of the bridge will total 6,000 in each of the span’s first two years of being built and 5,100 in each of its final two years.
Bridge backers previously have estimated construction is expected to take 48 to 52 months.
On the economic side, the CAR study predicts that during the bridge’s four years of construction, Michigan’s gross state product will increase by $1.5 billion, state revenue will increase by $150 million and personal incomes will increase by $1.5 billion.
The study also estimates that 1,400 permanent jobs will be created for operation of the bridge itself and that the span construction will create an additional 6,800 permanent private-sector jobs, contributing $630 million annually to the gross state product.
A plan by the state — approved by Washington — to use Canada’s offer to cover $550 million of Michigan’s bridge construction costs as leverage for $2.2 billion in new federal road project funding would create an average of 6,600 annual jobs over the four construction years and boost personal incomes by $1.8 billion and state revenue by $180 million, the study said.
The six-lane span would be constructed between Detroit’s industrial Delray neighborhood near Zug Island and Windsor’s Brighton Beach area and would link Ontario’s Highway 401 and Michigan’s I-75. The plan is to have the private sector privately finance its construction and operate it while the governments retain ownership. Tolls would repay debt.
By: Bill Shea, Crain’s Detroit Business