Michigan governor weighing private-public bridge argument

DETROIT — Michigan’s Republican House Speaker Craig DeRoche is warning that a massive investment in a new public bridge across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ont. may turn out to be a billion-dollar government boondoggle.

According to a report in the Windsor Star, DeRoche called on Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to be objective in deciding whether the new border crossing at North America’s busiest gateway should be a public or private venture.

The Detroit River International Crossing, a binational process made up of government and industry stakeholders, has ruled that a new bridge should be built about 3km southwest of the existing Ambassador Bridge.

The Ambassador Company owns land and building rights in relevant areas on both sides of the border, which puts it in a position to take control, or even own, the new crossing.

Others, including much of Windsor City Council, want the bridge to be in the public control.

A coalition of Detroit civic groups is also lobbying Gov. Granholm to secure public ownership.

DeRoche warned that spending public funds on such a massive project could threaten other important infrastructure projects throughout the state, reports the Star.

The DRIC study says taxpayer money could be recouped through bridge tolls.

— with files from the Windsor Star

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