Canada, Michigan announce new Detroit-Windsor bridge

Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:37pm EDT
 
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By Eddie Allen

WINDSOR, Ontario (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced a deal on Friday to build a new bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, a $4 billion project that officials say will help speed the flow of goods across North America's busiest commercial land border crossing.

The new bridge, which has been years in the making, involves a creative financing approach because the Michigan legislature blocked Snyder from using state funds.

Harper went as far as to say that he expects that finding a way to get the new bridge built be will his biggest accomplishment as prime minister.

"This is a great act of confidence in the future of the North American economy at a critical time," said Harper as he announced the pact in Windsor.

Canadian exporters have complained for years of congestion on the 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge that now serves as the main commercial connection between Windsor and Detroit, which they say has made it difficult to meet delivery deadlines and is hampering business.

The Windsor-Detroit corridor is Canada's most important trade artery. Nearly $200 billion of commerce crosses the Windsor-Detroit border corridor annually, Canadian officials say.

Under the deal, which Canadian transport officials say will create 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in Ontario and Michigan, Canada will fund the bridge, roadwork and other associated costs of the bridge.

Canada is to pay up to $550 million to cover Michigan's expense on the bridge, which will then allow the state to get up to $2 billion in U.S. federal matching funds.   Continued...

 
Canadian Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Denis Lebel (L) , Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder stand together after signing an agreement to build a new public bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada following a press conference in Detroit, Michigan June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook