New U.S./Canada Bridge Faces Delays Due to U.S. Funding
January 24, 2014
Truckers might have to wait even longer than expected for the New International Trade Crossing over the Detroit River. The bridge connecting Ontario to Michigan could be delayed if the U.S. government doesn’t soon commit to paying for a customs facility on the U.S. side, according to the Globe and Mail.
The Canadian government said they’ll pay $2.1-billion to complete the bridge, which will relieve congestion on the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, but only if the U.S. pays for the $250-million customs plaza on the Michigan side.
The project has all the necessary environmental approvals and the required Presidential permit, but bridge administration has not yet asked Congress for the funds.
“Until you get clarity or confirmation of [the U.S. government’s] intentions, there is concern,” Roy Norton, Canada’s consul-general in Detroit, told the Globe and Mail.
He said the upcoming U.S. federal budget would be a good opportunity for Congress to allocate the funds.
Unless the U.S. secures the funds needed to build the plaza in the next few months, Ottawa cannot move forward and find a company to build the bridge itself because the builder is required to also invest in the project. The investment will be repaid through bridge tolls.
“There has to be traffic for there to be tolls there. There has to be a customs plaza before there can be traffic,” Norton said.
A spokeswoman for Transport Canada told the Globe that the government remains confident the U.S. government will ultimately fund its share of the project and “meet its obligations in [the] bi-national partnership to build a new crossing at one of North America’s most important gateways.”