WINDSOR, Ont. — To help ensure the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) comes to fruition, Canada has stepped up and offered to cover Michigan’s tab for the project.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm appeared before the Michigan House of Representatives Transportation Committee this morning and read a letter from Canadian Transport Minister John Baird, that promised to cover Michigan’s share of the project, up to US$550 million.
The committee was holding hearings to decide whether to allow public-private partnerships, a key move that would pave the way for construction of the publicly-funded second crossing.
Ontario Trucking Association chief David Bradley was on-hand at the hearings, and commended the Canadian government’s actions, calling the offer “a bold and creative strategy to help remove one of the major stumbling blocks to impeding a decision by Michigan to allow the bridge to be built.”
In his address, Bradley warned that even if the Ambassador Bridge owners get all the necessary approvals to build a second crossing of their own, it would not “fix the problems that have and continue to plague the Detroit-Windsor crossing.”
“You’d still have the 16 stop lights to contend with on the approach to the bridge in Windsor,” he said.
Bradley said while the last couple years have seen less truck traffic across the US/Canada border, that’s about to change.
“Sure the last couple of years have been bad – first we had 9/11 then the worst recession since the 1930s – but one thing Canadians admire about Americans is your ability to get going when things get tough. I know you are not prepared to accept that things will always be the way the have been the last few years; nor are Canadians,” Bradley said.
He went on to say that a second crossing owned by the same people who operate the Ambassador Bridge would provide only eight lanes and that “continuing to rely on one bridge would not provide the redundancy needed to ensure that breaches of security would not result in the border being shut down.”
The committee approved the bill allowing P3s and recommended it be adopted by the full House of Representatives. However, it still has to gain Senate approval, which could prove difficult, despite Canada’s generous offer.
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