Officials push for a new border bridge at Detroit

| 4/16/2010

Government and business leaders on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border at Detroit-Windsor say a new bridge would boost trade, create jobs and reduce congestion. The group rallied Friday, April 16, in an effort to urge the Michigan Legislature to pass a bill to advance the Detroit River International Crossing plan.

The $5.3 billion DRIC plan is separate and not to be confused with a continuing effort by Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun to add new bridge lanes to his own empire.

U.S. and Canadian officials want to build a bridge downstream from the Ambassador as a public-private partnership. The project would include new roadways to carry international bridge traffic directly to and from major highways on both sides.

Currently, traffic to and from the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel must navigate city streets to gain access to major roadways.

The project, including the roadway network, would link U.S. Interstate 75 with Ontario Highway 401. The exact layout of the DRIC plan has yet to be announced.

The Michigan Legislature is currently considering HB4961 which would enable the DRIC project to be built as a public-private partnership. No word yet on what kind of toll rates will be involved for traffic once a new bridge is operational.

Detroit-Windsor is North America’s busiest border crossing, with one quarter of all trade between the U.S. and Canada, almost $44 billion each year, passing through the corridor.

“Construction of the DRIC will provide an immediate injection of jobs to Michigan and will sustain tens of thousands more jobs through trade with Canada once built, all with minimal cost to the tax payer,” Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated in her plea to the Legislature.

Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer also attended the rally to pledge Canada’s support for the new border crossing.

Mayors, business leaders and other VIPs also joined in the activities with speeches about advancing trade and creating jobs.

– By David Tanner, associate editor