The building of a second bridge connecting Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, has moved another step closer to reality with U.S. federal approval, but opposition to the plans still exist, including in the form of lawsuits.

The U.S. State Department issued a building permit late last week, nearly a year after it was submitted by Michigan for the New International Trade Crossing.

The State Department said in its statement that the bridge “contributes to ensuring that our border infrastructure supports increased competitiveness, job creation and broad-based prosperity in the United States and Canada. The NITC will help to meet future capacity requirements in a critical travel corridor, promote cross-border trade and commerce, and advance our vital bilateral relationship with Canada."

The move also comes following voters in Michigan last year rejecting a ballot initiative to get the public’s approval for construction of the span that will be downstream of the Ambassador Bridge, currently linking the two cities.

It’s opposed by the private owner of the Ambassador Bridge, Matty Moroun, who says it is not needed and in a federal lawsuit says his company has an exclusive right to operate the crossing without competition in a federal lawsuit. reports formal ownership of the bridge on the U.S. side of the river border will be by the state of Michigan but the Canadian government will pay for the bridge plus connections, inspection plaza facilities and the interchange with I-75 in Detroit as well as facilities on the Canadian side. Tolls will be collected by the Canadians on its side of the Detroit River.

It’s expected to take seven years to build the span and should be completed around 2020 or 2021 if there are no delays, but that could change.

Michigan representative Fred Durhal, who is running for mayor of Detroit and has reportedly has received campaign contributions from the Mouron family, has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn building of the bridge on the grounds that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder exceeded his authority when he negotiated building of the span with the Canadian government, but did not get authority from state lawmakers. 

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