DETROIT, Mich. — Leaders from business and government on both sides of the Canada/US government rallied to urge the Michigan Legislature to pass legislation needed to proceed with the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) last week.
In order to build a second crossing linking Windsor and Detroit, Michigan must first enact legislation that will enable it to enter into a public-private partnership (P3) to build and operate the new bridge. Proponents pointed out it will create 10,000 construction jobs in Michigan and result in 25,000 full-time permanent jobs in the state.
“The DRIC project is critical to Michigan’s future,” said Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “Construction of the DRIC will provide an immediate injection of jobs to Michigan and will sustain tens of thousands more jobs through trade with Canada once built, all with minimal cost to the taxpayer. It’s vital that the Michigan legislature act swiftly to authorize the DRIC and assure that we can continue to efficiently and safely move people and goods across our border.”
The $5.3 billion bridge is a bi-national effort that would see a new bridge constructed two miles south of the current Ambassador Bridge. Owners of the Ambassador Bridge have been aiming to halt the project and have proposed a twin span of their own.
“The Government of Canada is deeply committed to building the new DRIC bridge as soon as possible,” said Canada’s Ambassador to the US, Gary Doer. “The new bridge will provide increased border crossing capacity and system redundancy and will ensure that Detroit-Windsor – North America’s busiest border crossing – can support the continued growth of Canada/US trade.”
DRIC supporters point out the project has already received all the necessary environmental approvals for construction. All that’s left is for Michigan to gain approval to proceed with a P3, which would allow the state to partner with the Government of Canada and private partners to build the bridge.
The new bridge would be publicly-owned with tolls used to repay the private developer/financier. The bridge would link Hwy. 401 with US I-75.
A quarter of all trade between Canada and the US crosses through the Detroit/Windsor crossing, totaling more than US$43.8 billion per year. Truck traffic at the crossing is expected to increase by more than 100% by 2035.
“The DRIC project will assure that Michigan businesses continue to have access to Canadian markets creating and sustaining thousands of jobs for our state,” said Lt. Governor John D. Cherry, Jr. “Canada remains our largest trading partner and the DRIC will provide a resilient border infrastructure to sustain and expand this economic partnership. I urge the Michigan legislature to act to assure that this vital project moves forward.”
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