MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) - Wearing a "Build the Bridge" button, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder kicked off the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island by pushing for approval of a new international crossing between Detroit and Windsor.
Governor Snyder said there was mis-information being spread about the bridge, adding that it would create long-term jobs in Michigan. "It's a great opportunity," Snyder said.
Speaking to WWJ Newsradio 950's Vickie Thomas, the Governor said he hopes to get it all approved by July 1. "We need to build a bridge! It's all about international trade. If you look at... Michigan did $40 billion in international trade in exports last year, and 49 percent of that was with Canada," Snyder said.
"We're the largest state, in terms of a trading partner, with Canada and we need to keep that up and grow for the future, because that creates jobs," he said.
Speaking before hundreds of business and civic leaders, Wednesday afternoon, Snyder said the plan is win-win for everyone involved.
"This is all about creating jobs -- not only short-term but long-term... Canada advancing these dollars is only a plus for Michigan. We will not be taking on debt. We will not be obligating out citizens. And we're going to have a great asset built by a private party, run by a private party, doing great free enterprise," he said.
Snyder also touched on some of his accomplishments since taking office in January.
"I was able to sign the bill, a week or so ago, to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax... The dumbest tax in the United States is now dead," he said, to a round of applause.
The Governor also outlined his agenda for the rest of the year. It includes Education Reform, which the governor calls "critical." Also on the agenda, Health and wellness, infrastructure and talent. (More on Snyder's speech on Mackinac at this link).
Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer wasn't surprised by the audience support, although he wasn't among those cheering.
"This is the only crowd in the state that likes the Governor, at this point, with his approval ratings down to the low 30s," Brewer said.
"And it's just the hypocrisy of what we're hearing here from him. He continues to talk about the importance of investing in kids and our future... he's about the sign the largest cut to public education funding in the history of the state," Brewer said.
The Governor is expected to speak about changing the culture in Michigan before more than 1,000 business and community leaders Friday morning on Mackinac.
for more features.