US Coast Guard Issues Permit For New Bridge Across Detroit River

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a key permit needed for construction of a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canada are trying to build the bridge over the Detroit River that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge. Property on both sides of the border still must be acquired, and funding for a new customs plaza on the U.S. side still must be addressed.

“We have all the permits in place now,” Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., told the Free Press. “Every time we run into a speed bump on this bridge, we’ve found a way to get around the obstacle.”

Last week, a federal judge disagreed with private owners of the existing bridge, claiming the permit would cause “irreparable harm” to their business. It was a defeat Friday for Manuel “Matty” Moroun, whose family controls the Ambassador Bridge and wants to build its own second span. Records show the Moroun family has spent over $1 million since 2009 in their fight to stop a new government-owned span.

The New International Trade Crossing is expected to provide an alternative route for trucks at one of the busiest commercial border crossings in the U.S., where an estimated 2.7 million trucks pass through carrying $120-billion worth of goods annually.

The new crossing is planned to cross the Detroit River about two miles south of the Ambassador Bridge, from the Brighton Beach neighborhood in Windsor to the Delray neighborhood in Detroit.

Reports estimate the entire project could cost upwards of $4 billion and take up to five years to build — and there’s been a lot of discussion about who will pay for it.  Gov. Rick Snyder has said that Canada is putting up the money — not Michigan taxpayers.

The U.S. State Department approved the project just over a year ago, but construction hasn’t started yet.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.

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