NITC Senate Committee Hearing – Day One: Canadian Government Reaffirms Bridge Funding Guarantee

Any doubts, concerns, and questions regarding the Canadian government’s offer to cover Michigan’s $550 million in costs for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario were dismissed during the first legislative hearing on the project.

Helena Borges, an associate assistant deputy minister with Transport Canada, testified before the Senate Economic Development Committee on June 15 that Canada, not Michigan, would bear the financial risk on the proposed bridge project. Ms. Borges reaffirmed that Canada will cover any shortfalls between bond payments and toll revenues. Canada expects to recover the money from tolls.

“Canada is on the hook and Michigan is not,” said Ms. Borges.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley testified that a freeway-to-freeway connection is essential and that the Ambassador Bridge is the “worst bottleneck in the entire pan-American freeway system.” He said it would be made worse by putting another bridge beside it.

“We need to get this done for employers in the state of Michigan, for job growth in the state of Michigan,” said Lt. Governor Calley. “We can’t reject an opportunity to provide a reasonable and secure crossing option for them. That’s who this is about.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Moroun, son of Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, attended the hearing and continued to provide misleading information in order to maintain their monopoly (which handles 99% of all truck traffic) and avoid any competition. He said the toll revenues will be insufficient for the business enterprise that’s created, and he said it doesn’t matter what provisions are in the bill to protect taxpayers.

Click here to watch highlights from the first day of legislative hearings regarding the New International Trade Crossing.