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Feds announce $129 million for Windsor/Essex project

WINDSOR, Ont. -- The federal government will give $129 million to reduce traffic congestion and increase efficiency...

WINDSOR, Ont. — The federal government will give $129 million to reduce traffic congestion and increase efficiency in the Windsor border area, federal Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre announced in Windsor today.

The money is intended to improve the situation in Windsor in the short and medium terms, and includes funding for several proposals of the Schwartz Report, commissioned by the City of Windsor.

Projects to be funded include environmental assessments, design and feasibility studies for a wide range of initiatives, including the truck bypass to the Ambassador Bridge, and intelligent sign boards indicating traffic conditions approaching the bridge, as well as rail and ferry projects.

The money is part of the $300 million allocated by the governments of Canada and Ontario to projects in the area.
“We have already invested more than $82 million in Phase I projects that will be completed over the next three years,” said Lapierre. “With today’s announcement of $129 million, we are taking further steps to improve the flow of traffic in the City of Windsor and Essex County.

“…We live and work in a just-in-time economy. Jobs and growth depend on the efficiency of transportation corridors. Companies make their investment decisions and choose their suppliers on factors such as the reliability of delivery times. And nowhere is that more apparent than right here in Windsor. In fact, this is the single most important trade gateway in all of Canada. It accounts for over 25 per cent of Canada – U.S. trade by truck. That means that this corridor is vital to millions of jobs throughout Ontario and even in Quebec and the Maritimes.”

The minister went on to state that the Windsor-Detroit gateway is a key priority for the Government of Canada, and the Let’s Get Windsor-Essex Moving Strategy is a major component.

On March 24 of this year, the minister tabled Bill C-44, amendments to the Canada Transportation Act in the House of Commons.

The proposed amendments give the Government of Canada the legislative authority required for effective oversight of international bridges and tunnels to ensure that the interests of Canadians are protected. They also provide the governor-in-council with the authority to approve the construction or alteration of international bridges and tunnels, and to develop regulations pertaining to the governance, maintenance, security and operation of these structures. This governance regime for these international crossings is intended to help expedite the approval of new facilities and ensure the efficient and competitive flow of goods and people.

Lapierre during his speech also mentioned the Bi-National Partnership recently initiated an environmental assessment process to determine the location for a new crossing across the Detroit River.

“This is a critical part of our plan to deliver additional capacity by 2013, which is about the time when the Ambassador Bridge is expected to reach its capacity,” said Lapierre.

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