Canada's financial participation in the construction of a new Windsor-Detroit bridge crossing
The Government of Canada has indicated to the State of Michigan that it is prepared to increase its financial participation in the Windsor-Detroit bridge crossing project, up to a maximum of US$550 million. Canada’s increased financial participation would be for project components in Michigan that would not be funded by the public-private partnership or the U.S. Government, and will be re-paid to Canada overtime. The increased financial participation is subject to the Michigan Legislature adopting all of the authorizing legislation for the implementation of this project.
Canada’s increased financial participation is in addition to its commitment for the project components in Canada (Canadian customs plaza, acquisition of property) that would not be funded by the public-private partnership. As well, Canada will be contributing significant funding to the Windsor-Essex Parkway that is being led by the Province of Ontario.
The Importance of a New Windsor-Detroit Crossing
The Windsor-Detroit corridor is Canada’s most important trade artery and the busiest commercial land border crossing in North America. An efficient and secure trade corridor is essential to the economies of Canada and the United States. There are short-term and long-term benefits to moving forward with construction as soon as possible.
In the short-term, this bridge project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border and support economic growth during the current global economic downturn.
In the long-term, building a new bridge is necessary as the existing Windsor-Detroit crossing is reaching capacity. All partners recognize that the region needs sufficient and competitive crossing infrastructure to facilitate trade over the next 30 years and beyond. Short-term traffic fluctuations do not change this objective, and to wait any longer would impede continued growth in the economies of both countries.
Based on expert analysis, over the next thirty years, truck traffic in the Windsor-Detroit corridor is expected to triple and vehicle traffic is expected to double. Moreover, the results of an investment-grade traffic study recently contracted by the State of Michigan and detailing traffic projections for the ensuing 10 years, reaffirm the need for additional border crossing capacity between Windsor and Detroit.
Cost of Construction
The complete bridge project, including the Windsor-Essex Parkway, the Canadian and U.S. inspection plazas, the bridge and the interchange with Interstate-75, is estimated to cost in excess of $5.5 billion dollars.
Budget 2007 announced an initial commitment of $400 million for the access road (the Windsor-Essex Parkway) that will connect Highway 401 to the new bridge, in addition $34-million has been spent for property in Windsor. However, figures for individual program components are still being refined and will be subject to competitive bidding processes, as a result such figures cannot be released.
Financial participation in an international bridge is not unusual. The Government of Canada is a co-owner of a number of Ontario-United States crossings including both the Blue Water Bridge and the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge between Michigan and Ontario.
Status of the Project
This project has now received the necessary environmental clearances on both sides of the border. It will take four to five years to design and build the bridge and the inspection plazas, and the start date is dependent on obtaining the necessary legislative approvals in Michigan. Financial appropriations are required for the publicly financed portions of the project, such as the border inspection plaza. Meanwhile, government officials are working to advance all aspects of project planning including further design work, utility relocations and property acquisition.
Stats on Windsor-Detroit Corridor
- Windsor-Detroit is the largest commercial land border crossing in North America handling over $130 billion per year, or 28%, of Canada-U.S. trade and 20% of Quebec-U.S. trade.
- Majority of Canada-U.S. trade crosses the border by road. Each day, almost 68,000 trucks cross the border – over 8,000 at Windsor-Detroit alone.
- Over 25 million travellers cross the Windsor-Detroit border each year.
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