The U.S. and Canada have reportedly worked out a deal to clear the last hurdle so work can begin on building a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Vehicle tolls will be used to pay for the $250 million U.S. Customs plaza needed for the planned bi-national New International Trade Crossing under a tentative deal worked out between the U.S., Michigan and Canadian governments, according the Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada.The bridge is also know as the Detroit River International Crossing.
A formal announcement is expected in March.
“It’s been a long time coming, and we await the finer details, but on the surface this is excellent news,” said Ontario Trucking Association president David Bradley. “We are hopeful the political wrangling that has delayed progress on this most important infrastructure investment is finally over and we can soon begin the work of putting shovels in the ground. This is an encouraging development for anyone who is eagerly looking forward to improved trade flows and better efficiency across the single busiest trade gateway for North America.”
It remains unclear whether Ottawa will also now put up the $250-million for the plaza and pay itself back through a toll funding formula, or whether private-sector partners will front the money, according to the Globe and Mail.
Despite Canada agreeing to pick up the tab to build the bridge on both sides of the border, Washington balked at paying for its own customs plaza on the Michigan side of the bridge. President Obama’s $4-trillion budget on Monday failed to include any money for the plaza for a second consecutive year.
The project, which spans the busiest trade crossing between the two countries, is set to be completed in 2020.
The new bridge to be built two miles south of the privately financed and operated Ambassador Bridge. Its owners have been adamantly opposed to the construction of the new span.