Expects a public bridge authority to be in place by October
BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Sunday that he is confident a public bridge authority will be in place by October to oversee the building of a proposed second span between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Snyder spoke at a news conference before the running of the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. He was asked about the status of a new bridge, estimated to cost about $1 billion.
“October is the month of infrastructure for the state of Michigan, when we’re giving a special message,” Snyder said. “I can tell you that our goal is to get something going on that Bridge Authority by October of this year.
“I believe it’s going to happen and I’m excited, and we’re going to have a great crossing to make it a lot easier for a lot more great Canadians to visit Michigan and vice versa.”
The private owners of the Ambassador bridge oppose the project, saying they want to add a span of their own.
Snyder’s comments followed a tour last Monday of the bridge site by Michigan and Canadian lawmakers. The proposed new bridge has the support of Canadian officials and U.S. automakers.
The state Senate’s Economic Development Committee is considering legislation to create a bridge authority that would be able to call for bids on the project. The bridge would be owned publicly but financed, built and operated by a private contractor.
Canadian officials have offered to advance $550 million to pay Michigan’s share of construction costs in a way that would protect Michigan taxpayers from liability.
Government officials and business groups have agreed for years on the need for a second international bridge between Detroit and Windsor, the busiest commercial border crossing in North America.
The effort has stalled, largely because of opposition from the owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge, billionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun.
About 30 percent of the goods sold between the U.S. and Canada are trucked across the Detroit River. The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel can’t handle tractor-trailers, leaving the 82-year-old Ambassador Bridge to handle all heavy truck traffic.