Plan announced to build new US-Canada bridge at Detroit - WNEM TV 5

Plan announced to build new US-Canada bridge at Detroit

Ambassador Bridge Ambassador Bridge

DETROIT (AP) - Officials from the Canada and U.S. governments have announced plans to build a new Canadian-financed bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

At a news event Friday in Windsor, the massive construction project was praised for the thousands of jobs it would create and the positive impact it would have on trade between the nations.

A summary of the agreement provided earlier to The Associated Press says Michigan won't be obligated to pay any of the costs of the bridge that'll span the Detroit River south of the existing Ambassador Bridge. Both countries would be represented on a bridge board, and a Canadian entity would handle design, construction and operation of the bridge.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says construction costs for the bridge itself are estimated at $950 million.

Plans for a Canadian-financed span have been opposed by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun. His company wants to add a span of its own.

Meanwhile, organizers of a November ballot proposal that would require voters' approval to build a bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, say Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder needs to "make his best case" for the span.

Mickey Blashfield, director of The People Should Decide ballot committee, said in a statement he welcomes Snyder "out into the public debate" about the bridge.

He's criticized Snyder's efforts on the bridge.

The Ambassador Bridge's owners are fighting Snyder's efforts, pushing the ballot proposal and running an aggressive ad campaign saying it would cost taxpayers a lot of money.

Blashfield's statement was to be his only comment Friday about the bridge proposal. The Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the Ambassador Bridge, planned no comment.

The bridge company wants to add a span of its own. Further details about the proposed bridge were relesed by Gov. Snyder's office Friday afternoon:

  • Michigan is not obligated to pay any of the NITC's costs and no state appropriation is required.
  • Canada's expenditure of $550 million will be eligible as U.S. federal matching funds for use on highway projects across Michigan.
  • Actual design, construction, operation and maintenance of the NITC will be done by a private entity through a 40-50 year public-private partnership agreement between the Crossing Authority and the private entity as concessionaire.
  •  The Canadian government will make annual "availability payments" to the concessionaire to fund the design and construction of the NITC as well as for the ongoing operation and maintenance expenses during the terms of the public-private partnership agreement.
  •  No tolls will be charged in Michigan for use of the bridge. Canada will charge tolls, which will be used to reimburse the Canadian government for the funds it advances related to the NITC and for its annual availability payments to the concessionaire.
  •  The Canadian government will pay all costs of the required land acquisition in Canada and Michigan. It also will pay to construct an interchange to connect the NITC to I-75.
  • The public-private partnership agreement and the request for proposals must contain provisions for community benefit plans and for the involvement of the impacted communities in Michigan and Canada.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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