DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan lawmaker says the U.S. and Canada are close to working out a deal for financing a planned $2.1 billion bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Tuesday that the Canadian government will likely agree to pay for a $250 million customs plaza. She said the U.S. government could offer to reimburse Canada through toll revenue collected on the New International Trade Crossing, which will span across the Detroit River and connect the two cities.
A Canadian newspaper reported Tuesday that a tentative deal between Ottawa, Washington and the state of Michigan calls for vehicle tolls to fund the toll plaza. Financing discussions are still ongoing, and a formal announcement is expected to be made next month, according to reports.
The U.S. State Department approved the bridge project in 2013, but construction hasn’t started yet. The new span would 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. Officials say they hope to open the bridge in 2020.
The project is opposed by the owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge, Manuel “Matty” Moroun, whose family 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.
An estimated 2.7 million trucks pass through the Detroit-Windsor crossing, carrying $120-billion worth of goods annually.
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