ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Michigan governor urges permits for twin span

DETROIT — With the federal U.S. government and a good chunk of Detroit city councilors now publicly backing a new, separate bridge at the Windsor-Detroit Bridge, the privately-owned Ambassador Bridge could use as many allies as it can get to advance its own aim of constructing a competing twin span.

Recently, that support has mostly come from the state. Michigan Senator Alan Cropsey, for one, has been recommending that funding be cut for the Detroit International Bridge Crossing (DRIC) — the binational partnership in charge of studying a separate crossing. He agrees that the most viable option for taxpayers is letting the Ambassador Company twin its structure with second, six-lane crossing.

Now Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm is, at the very least, also insisting the Ambassador is permitted to forge ahead with its plan.

In a letter obtained by, Granholm writes U.S. DOT secretary Mary Peters to request that the department “give every consideration to advancing federal applications for the Ambassador Bridge enhancement project.”

“It has been my administration’s consistent position that the Ambassador Bridge Company’s private efforts to twin its current structure can be achieved more easily on the American side (of the border), and I am strongly reiterating that position today.”

The governor acknowledges that DRIC concluded in 2005 that the twinning project would not meet its own objectives for increasing much-needed capacity at the border. Nevertheless, she continues, the Ambassador should not be obstructed from continuing on without public support if it wants to.

“The proprietors of the Ambassador own and operate an important facility in the network of border crossings that play a vital role, in Michigan’s economy, and we are committed to making sure that our international border crossings have adequate capacity now and in the future.”

A source close to the situation speculated that while Granholm’s letter backs the Ambassador’s ambitions, it isn’t exactly an endorsement that the twin span be the only project worth supporting. “I think the latter is weak … a true endorsement would have said a twinned ambassador Bridge is in the best interest of Michigan and we want it.”

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