18 June 2012
Canada and the US state of Michigan have reached an agreement to build a US$950 million bridge linking Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.
Canada will have responsibility for constructing, financing and operating the bridge under a public-private partnership.
The agreement for the new Detroit River International Crossing establishes the framework for each party’s roles and responsibilities for the new international crossing. Construction is expected to take four to five years. The total construction costs are valued at between US$3.4 billion to US$3.9 billion. Construction cost of the bridge itself is estimated at US $950 million.
It will be built near to the Ambassador Bridge, which was completed in 1929 and is the busiest trade crossing on the US - Canada border.
“Our government is taking the measures necessary to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and the United States in order to generate jobs, economic growth and long term prosperity,” said Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.
“The best part of the agreement is that the bridge will create thousands of new jobs - including 10,000 Michigan jobs related to the project - and it won't cost Michigan taxpayers one penny,” said Michigan governor Rick Snyder.
The project includes the bridge, Canadian and US inspection plazas and an interchange with Interstate-75. The agreement allows for the creation of an international authority to oversee the letting of bids to design, develop, finance, construct and operate the crossing. The authority will comprise three members appointed by Canada and three appointed by Michigan.
Under the agreement, Canada will be responsible for constructing, financing and operating the new crossing with likely private sector involvement through a public-private partnership. Ontario and Canada are jointly funding the Windsor Essex Parkway, which will connect Highway 401 to the new bridge. The US plaza will be the responsibility of the US government.
Canada and Michigan can now proceed with the next steps of the project, which include further design work and property acquisition on the US side.
Under the agreement, Michigan is not obligated to pay any of the crossing’s costs and no state appropriation is required. Canada’s expenditure of US$550 million will be eligible as U.S. federal matching funds for use on highway projects across Michigan.
Actual design, construction, operation and maintenance of the crossing will be done by a private entity through a 40-50 year public-private partnership agreement between the crossing authority and the private entity as concessionaire.
The Canadian government will make annual availability payments to the concessionaire to fund the design and construction of the crossing as well as for the ongoing operation and maintenance expenses during the terms of the public-private partnership agreement.
No tolls will be charged in Michigan for use of the bridge. Canada will charge tolls, which will be used to reimburse the Canadian government for the funds it advances related to the bridge and for its annual availability payments to the concessionaire.
The Canadian government will pay all costs of the required land acquisition in Canada and Michigan. It also will pay to construct an interchange to connect the NITC to I-75.