LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s considering an “interlocal agreement” between state government and Canadian officials to get a new international bridge built across the Detroit River.
The Republican governor told reporters that he still hopes the GOP-led House and Senate will approve moving forward on a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
He met with Canada’s Transport Minister and other officials to discuss alternative plans on Wednesday.
“The governor told a business group here this morning that he expects moment on the bridge this year,” reported WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick. “I said, ‘Does that mean shovels in the ground?’ No, that means engineering reports, permits and stuff like that and maybe shovels next year if the governor get his way.”
Snyder’s original plan calls for a second bridge to Canada two miles to the south of the existing bridge, and he says it could be done through federal grants and matching funds from Canada without any Michigan taxpayer dollars.
But Snyder says he’s also pursuing other options — although he’s not sharing the details.
“He’s still not saying how he’s going to do this with or without the Michigan legislature,” Skubick said.
The public bridge would cost up to $2.2 billion, according to a September report from the Anderson Economic Group.
Snyder opposes efforts by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge to build a second span. They’re fighting Snyder’s efforts to build a separate bridge.
The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports the Detroit International Bridge Co. has spent $1.6 million this year on TV ads opposing the new bridge Snyder and Canadian officials support.
It’s also pushing a ballot proposal requiring voters’ approval to build the alternative bridge.
Snyder contends the public bridge project would create construction and trucking jobs, ease congestion, strengthen the state economy and help establish Michigan as a hub for global commerce.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)