Dear Administrator Mendez:
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I write in support of the request for the Department of Transportation to waive the Buy America requirements for iron and steel used in construction of the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. We believe a unique waiver of this nature, which appropriately allows the use of both American and Canadian made iron and steel, would benefit the construction of this important transportation project and help create thousands of good paying American jobs.
The NITC is the type of infrastructure investment that our ailing economy sorely needs. The U.S. and Canada boast the largest trading relationship in the world, and many key industries in our two countries are highly integrated across the border. Detroit-Windsor is the busiest U.S.-Canada commercial crossing and carries over 8,000 trucks daily and a quarter of all trade between the two countries. The sheer volume of goods and people crossing the current Ambassador Bridge has increasingly made congestion a problem and stifled commerce. With cross-border travel and trade expected to increase in the coming years, this project is necessary to ensure that our economic progress is not hampered by inadequate capacity at this critical international crossing.
While providing clear future benefits for international trade, the NITC will also have an immediate jobs impact across the country. The project is expected to create up to 10,000 construction jobs and 25,000 additional indirect jobs over the construction period. The bridge will also support roughly 750 permanent jobs after its completion. Approving this waiver application and moving ahead with the construction of this project will provide immediate job creation and help improve our nation’s infrastructure system.
TTD has a clear record of urging full compliance with federal Buy America laws for all transportation projects. However, given the nature of this project, the shared investment by both the U.S. and Canadian governments, and the uniquely integrated industries that span the U.S.-Canadian border, we feel that this waiver application is appropriate and beneficial in this specific instance. The waiver not only recognizes the partnership between our two nations in investing in this project, but is also appropriately targeted to allow the use of only U.S. and Canadian-made iron and steel.
The need for increased investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure could not be greater, and this project will benefit our economy for years to come. It will improve one of our most important international bridge crossings, reduce unemployment, and ensure that U.S. and Canadian taxpayer dollars will support jobs here at home. I urge you to approve the waiver application and move this project forward.