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“With our major trading partner Canada and the percentage of good and service that come across on that bridge now, I’d hate to think what would happen in a terrorist situation if that bridge went down,” Mr. Watkins said. “Just for the auto industry alone, it could be devastating for Michigan and the country.”

Should Mr. Snyder seek a second term, Mr. Ballenger doesn’t think such an end-run on the bridge deal now would hurt the governor politically over the long term.

“There would be a furor in the short term over the way in which he might try to pull it off,” Mr. Ballenger says of the end-run strategy. “This thing is not something that can be done overnight. To get something going without cooperation of your own legislature is going to take years and it’s going to be fought in the courts.

“If the governor can spin it, as he has so far, he gets a lot of support from building trades and organized labor that this is a job-producer and a boon to our economy, it’s hard to see that being a detriment to him. That is what all of Michigan is concentrating on, turning the economy around.”