Governor Rick Snyder gave his strongest signal yet Tuesday that his administration is considering an alternative to legislative approval as a way to authorize the construction of a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
The Legislature has so far been unsupportive of Mr. Snyder’s proposed New International Trade Crossing, also known as the Detroit River International Crossing, with a Senate committee rejecting a bill (SB 410) to enable a new authority to oversee the construction of a new bridge about two miles downriver from the privately run Ambassador Bridge. Now talk is intensifying that Mr. Snyder will use other means to authorize the bridge, possibly through an interlocal agreement.
“I’m looking at all kinds of options,” Mr. Snyder said in an interview with Gongwer News Service when asked if he was about to imminently propose an alternative to legislative action. “But what I would say is I’m still talking to legislators at the same time.”
Asked specifically whether he would propose an interlocal agreement, Mr. Snyder said: “No set decision. Still talking to legislators. We’re looking at options. And it’s something that as things evolve we’ll make the appropriate decisions.”
Mr. Snyder declined to say whether he has asked the Department of Attorney General to review the legality of a possible interlocal agreement.
Of whether the administration moving ahead with the bridge despite legislative opposition could rupture what has so far been a successful relationship in moving legislation, Mr. Snyder said House Speaker Jase Bolger’s (R-Marshall) recent comments about the issue suggest it would not be damaging.
“There’ve been some comments to really recognize that we’re independent branches. There are ways we can do things in partnership and in some cases we can do things on our own,” he said. “Hopefully to the degree we ever went down different paths it wouldn’t create that environment of negativity between us.”
Mr. Snyder said he still considers the proposed bridge a chance to create jobs without obligating the state to spend any money.
“We’re going to keep working the issue,” he said. “The bridge idea is not going to die.”