DETROIT (AP) State lawmakers are pushing for the opening of another new bridge or tunnel between Michigan and Ontario to help deal with the slowdown in border traffic since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

State Sen. Bill Schuette plans to hold a hearing in Detroit on Dec. 3 on a new border crossing. The hearing will be before the Senate Economic Development, International Trade and Regulatory Affairs Committee, which he chairs.

“There”s been talk of a bridge Downriver, a parallel to the Ambassador Bridge or opening up an old railroad tunnel in Detroit,” Schuette said. “We need a full review of adding a gateway to Canada, and it needs to start now.”

Schuette said delays of more than five hours at the border have been reported since security increased after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That slows the movement of 12 million vehicles each year and $1 billion worth of goods and services every day, he told The Detroit News.

Schuette”s committee also will look at the states role in providing border security, he said.

Meanwhile, state, federal and Canadian government officials continue work on a plan for a new border crossing between Ontario and Southeast Michigan.

“We”re working on the red tape and were now trying to hire a consultant to do a study to determine where the crossing should be built and what type it should be,” said Ari Adler of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “We”re looking at potential crossings from Detroit to Port Huron.”

Government officials decided another international gateway was needed even before the assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Adler said.

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