Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act
The Windsor-Detroit corridor is Canada’s most important trade artery and the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing, handling almost 30 percent of Canada-U.S. surface trade. To ensure that the Windsor-Detroit border remains efficient and secure, the Government of Canada, together with its partners, is building a new international bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.
The project, known as the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project, will facilitate the movement of people and goods between Canada and the U.S. by ensuring that there is sufficient infrastructure capacity to handle projected growth in cross border trade and traffic in the Windsor-Detroit trade corridor. It will also provide a much-needed crossing alternative at the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing and create thousands of jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.
The DRIC project supports Canada’s Economic Action Plan for ensuring long-term prosperity, growing international trade and investment, and creating jobs.
To expedite construction of this vital new border crossing, the Government of Canada has introduced new legislation - An Act Respecting a Bridge Spanning the Detroit River between Windsor and Detroit and Other Works, also known as the Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act.
There are several benefits to this new legislation.
As the new bridge will be built by the private sector under a Public-Private Partnership (P3), the new legislation will bring certainty to the P3 market for the construction of the DRIC project.
The Government of Canada has already conducted an extensive and comprehensive environmental assessment study which was fully coordinated with the environmental assessment in the United States and Ontario. All three governments (United States, Ontario and Canada) granted their approvals in 2009.
The proposed bill would exempt the construction of the DRIC project from requiring certain permits, approvals or authorizations under a number of federal laws. That said, the proponents still would be required to meet all of their obligations under the relevant Acts and the government’s authority to enforce these Acts remains unchanged.
The bill will still require the federal government to meet commitments made in the federal environmental assessment report regarding environmental remediation measures, as well as complying with obligations under relevant federal legislation pertaining to fisheries, species at risk and navigable waters.
The new legislation will also clarify a number of corporate governance issues and will provide minor amendments to the International Bridges and Tunnels Act to facilitate implementation of the project, including the establishment of a crossing authority.
The Government of Canada signed an agreement with Michigan in June 2012. The agreement, together with this new legislation, is a significant step towards the construction of the new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
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