The building of a new bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada took another step forward Wednesday with the appointments of members to an authority that will oversee construction of the new public owned span between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Mich.
The project, known as the Detroit River International Crossing in Canada and the New International Trade Crossing in Michigan, consists of four major infrastructure components; the six-lane bridge, the Canadian port of entry, the U.S. port of entry and an interchange connection to Interstate 75 in Michigan.
"This milestone is the latest achievement in an exciting project that will create short- and long-term jobs, energize the economy and enhance security for Michigan and Canada,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. “The International Authority has a leadership role in driving the New International Trade Crossing forward. We're fortunate to have such talented, dedicated appointees who are willing to serve. I am confident they will provide the expertise and guidance that will make the NITC a shining example of international cooperation and economic success."
The span will compete with the existing Ambassador Bridge. Its private owners are opposed to the building of the new span and have unsuccessfully tried several legal maneuvers to stop it.
The cost for the project is estimated to be around $4 billion and is set for completion in 2020.
The authority was created pursuant to the crossing agreement signed by Canada and Michigan in June 2012. Comprised of six members with equal representation from Canada and Michigan, it will oversee and approve key steps in the procurement process for the new Windsor-Detroit bridge crossing.
Lisa Raitt, Canada's minister of transport and Gov. Snyder announced the appointments of Kristine Burr and Geneviève Gagnon by Canada and Michael D. Hayes, Birgit, M. Klohs and Matt Rizik by Michigan. Burr will also serve as the chairperson of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. A third Canadian member will be selected by the in the near future.
Michele "Michael" Cautillo has been appointed as president and CEO, Mark McQueen as chairperson of the board of directors, and William Graham and Caroline Mulroney Lapham, daughter of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, as directors.
Burr has had a career with the government of Canada over the past 40 years, most recently as assistant deputy minister, policy for Transport Canada.
Gagnon has been the president of XTL Transport since 2012, a Canadian transportation, logistics and distribution services company.
Hayes presently serves as president and CEO of the Midland Center for the Arts. He previously founded Main Street Consulting, specializing in community relations and economic development following his retirement as vice president of executive relations with Dow Chemical.
Klohs is the president and CEO of The Right Place, the regional economic development organization for the retention, expansion and attraction of business in West Michigan.
Rizik is the chief tax officer for Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance and integration to a portfolio of more than 40 businesses ranging from sports and entertainment to innovative internet start-ups.
Cautillo has been involved in the planning of the new crossing between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Mich. for the past eight years in his capacity as a partner with Deloitte, the prime project and financial advisory contractor for the project. During his tenure with Deloitte, Cautillo was a key player in its Infrastructure Advisory and Project Finance practice. Prior to this, Cautillo spent 23 years with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
McQueen is president and CEO of Wellington Financial and has worked in the financial services industry since 1993.
Graham is president of South Winds Development Co. a land development company based in Komoka, Ontario. He has over 45 years of board and business experience and also a founding member of the London Heavy Construction Equipment Association.
Lapham is the co-founder and executive director of Shoebox Projects for Shelters, a charitable foundation established in 26 communities across Canada, and a consultant with Independent Business Consulting Practice in Toronto.
The bridge has almost all the permits needed to begin construction, including a U.S. presidential permit from the Obama administration. It still needs to get some state permits in Michigan, which assess water impact issues, according to Today’s Trucking.
The Canadian federal government and its private sector partners have agreed to pay about $3.4 billion for feeder roads, plazas, the bridge crossing and other costs, but a $250-million U.S. Customs plaza on the U.S. side remains the only significant expense sill not covered.