WINDSOR, Ont. — The President of the Ambassador Bridge says he won’t stand in the way of a binational plan to keep the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel in public hands; but the deal suffered a blow anyway this week when Detroit City Council nixed plans to proceed with its half of the agreement.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s proposal to sell half of the tunnel in order to bail the city out of a deep financial hole could be shelved indefinitely after council voted to omit the deal from the upcoming budget.
The agreement calls for both border towns to turn over their halves of the tunnel to separate authorities made up of representatives of the two municipal governments.
Under the terms of the proposal, explains the Windsor Star, the Ontario government would loan $75 million to the recently formed Windsor-Detroit Tunnel Corporation, which would then route $65 million to the City of Detroit. The remaining $10 million would go for insurance and transaction costs.
Windsor is responsible for paying back the loan, however.
There was speculation that the privately owned Ambassador Bridge was vying for control of the tunnel as well. Such a move would give it a near-monopoly over the cross-border traffic market at North America’s busiest trade gateway.
However, Ambassador President Dan Stamper told the Star that if the city wants the tunnel for that price, it could have it.
"It doesn’t bother me if it goes forward," he told the paper. "If Detroit can get $75 million, they should take it."
— with files from Windsor Star & Detroit Free Press
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