A plan to build a new bridge between Michigan and its largest trading partner, Canada, may hit a new milestone this week.
Crain's Detroit Business reports Mich. Governor Rick Snyder will announce a deal to build a $2.1 billion bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Can. Friday, though it hasn't been officially confirmed by the governor's camp.
The New International Trade Crossing would ease traffic congestion on the privately owned, 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge, which is the conduit for a quarter of the United State's freight traffic with Canada.
Snyder has been hard at work to make a deal with Canadian officials after the Michigan Senate shot down bills last year that would pave the way for the NITC bridge. According to Crain's, Snyder is likely planning to use the Michigan Strategic Fund to make an interlocal agreement with the Canadian government. The agreement would allow the two bodies to share budgets, and wouldn't require approval from the state legislature.
According to the Globe and Mail, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet is expected to approve the agreement Wednesday.
Billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun, owner of the Detroit International Bridge Company that operates the Ambassador Bridge, is dead-set against the NITC and has spent nearly $5 million on an advertising campaign decrying the need for a second crossing. Ads claim taxpayers could be responsible for future operating expenses, and Moroun's camp is pushing to put the issue up for public vote, according to MLive.
Canada has offered to pay $550 million of the state's portion of expenses, which they would later recoup through toll revenue, leaving no cost to Michiganders, and plans for the NITC counter that the constraints of the Ambassador Bridge limit economic growth.
The new bridge would cost about $1 billion, with Customs plazas and road connections on either side responsible for the additional costs. The project could create up to 10,000 temporary construction jobs.