by Tony Briscoe
Michigan can expect Canadian taxpayers to front about $350 million to acquire land in southwest Detroit for a portion of the New International Trade Crossing bridge project, according to estimates from Gov. Rick Snyder’s office.
The project to build a six-lane, $2.1 billion bridge linking Interstate 75 and the Windsor-Essex Parkway is moving closer to acquiring land from residents next year.
“The project is on track and it’s a very exciting time for the state,” said Ken Silfven, a spokesman for Snyder. “Obviously we’re doing really basic work right now like title searches, but we’ll see more activity in 2014. (The estimate) is really going to depend on what the final footprint of the bridge is going to look like.”
The $350 million is a part of the $550 million the Canadian government agreed to pay for land acquisition, construction of a U.S. Customs plaza and a road to connect I-75 and the bridge, Silfven said.
Snyder said Michigan taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay a penny for the NITC — a claim some opponents have disputed — given the state would secure $2.2 billion in funding from the Federal Highway Administration for the project.
Over the summer, state officials told Delray residents the plan would be to allocate at least 160 acres for development.
The construction of the bridge won’t begin until about 2016; however, Canadians have begun drilling to determine where to place bridge footings, Silfven said. Michigan has started applying for environment permits for runoff and for U.S. Coast Guard operations in the area.
Originally posted in The Detroit News