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Unlikely West Michigan foes debate bridge in Detroit

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Lindsey Smith
/
Michigan Radio
State Representative Dave Agema (R-Grandville) and staff from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber talk to residents after the forum.

Supporters and opponents of the new international bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, are still debating the merits of the proposal nearly a week after the bridge plan failed to get enough support in the state legislature.

At least 100 people in Zeeland listened to the unlikely opponents at a forum Tuesday night hosted by the Ottawa County Tea Party Patriots. The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and State Representative Dave Agema (R-Grandville) agree most of the time. The Grand Rapids chamber is one of many chambers of commerce in Michigan to support a second bridge.

“I strive not to encumber taxpayers in any way shape or form,” Agema said in arguing against the new international trade bridge.

State Representative Dave Agema chairs the Transportation Subcommittee of the state House Appropriations Committee. He believes the state is overestimating toll revenue and underestimating the potential costs.

“I think it would be nice to have a bridge,” said Holland resident Doug Bender.

He retired from driving commercial trucks ten years ago.

But can we really afford it right now the way the economy is? And it sounds like the traffic is going down not up,” Bender said.

He worries about the State of Michigan taking on any financial risk if a second bridge is built.

Governor Rick Snyder is looking for alternative ways to approve the bridge plan after the legislation failed last week in the state senate.

Snyder hopes a second bridge will help to turn Michigan into a Chicago-to-Montreal transportation corridor.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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