DETROIT, June 4 (UPI) -- Chrysler Group Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne pushed the state of Michigan to approve funding for a new bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Canada.
In effect, Marchionne, who took over Chrysler when Fiat assumed 20 percent ownership of Chrysler and control of the automaker last summer, injected himself into state politics for the first time, The Detroit News reported Friday.
Funding for the Detroit River International Crossing has been approved in Michigan's House but faces an uphill battle for approval by the state Senate, the newspaper said.
Marchionne, in a speech at the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island, said, "I want to make it clear that Chrysler strongly supports the proposed DRIC."
Chrysler alone relies on 1,300 shipments and 2,000 vehicles crossing the U.S.-Canadian border each day. The automobile industry on the whole counts on $100 million in goods shipped back and forth from Canada to Detroit every day, Marchionne said.
The industry counts on an international flow of finished goods, parts, raw materials and commuters going to and from work.
"Smooth crossing is essential," Marchionne said.
The new bridge, estimated to cost $1.8 billion, would also create 10,000 construction jobs and support 30,000 supplemental jobs, Marchionne said.