Canada is picking up the tab for a new $1-billion bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ont., an announcement today revealed.
The new bridge will add a second crossing over the Detroit River alongside the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest of all North American border crossings.
“Our government is taking the measures necessary to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and the United States,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, according to The Canadian Press.
“This new bridge will reduce congestion at this critical Canada-US crossing.”
One-quarter of all Canada-US trade – or $500 million annually – crosses the Ambassador Bridge, CBC said, amounting to 10,000 commercial vehicles daily.
Under the deal, Canada will pay all costs through a private-public partnership.
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Drivers from Michigan won’t pay a toll, but those crossing from Ontario will in an effort to help Canada recoup investment.
A Canadian company will handle design, construction and operation of the span.
Canada will buy any land needed in Michigan while also paying to have the bridge join I-75.
“That’s what friendship is all about; stepping up and helping someone,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told CBC. “A special note of thanks to Canada, for your generosity and thoughtfulness in this project.”
Crews will build the new bridge a few miles south of the Ambassador, and it comes with some controversy, The Associated Press reported.
Detroit International Bridge Co., the private firm that owns the Ambassador, also wants to build a second crossing.
Lobbyist Mickey Blashfield is pushing for a November ballot on the issue.
Because Canada is funding the bridge, the issue didn’t pass through Michigan lawmakers.
“The Michigan Legislature, after reviewing all the facts, was not convinced,” Blashfield told the AP. “We believe the people want and deserve to have a vote about such an important issue.”
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