Inside and outside of Oakland

No bridge too far: Agreement for new bridge over the Detroit River

Here's what the office of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says is the highlights of an agreement that lays the groundwork for a new international bridge crossing over the Detroit River:

• Michigan is not obligated to pay any of the NITC’s costs and no state appropriation is required.

• Canada’s expenditure of $550 million will be eligible as U.S. federal matching funds for use on
  highway projects across Michigan.

• Actual design, construction, operation and maintenance of the NITC will be done by a private
  entity through a 40-50 year public-private partnership agreement between the Crossing
  Authority and the private entity as concessionaire.

• The Canadian government will make annual “availability payments” to the concessionaire to
  fund the design and construction of the NITC as well as for the ongoing operation and
  maintenance expenses during the terms of the public-private partnership agreement.

• No tolls will be charged in Michigan for use of the bridge. Canada will charge tolls, which will
   be used to reimburse the Canadian government for the funds it advances related to the NITC
   and for its annual availability payments to the concessionaire.

• The Canadian government will pay all costs of the required land acquisition in Canada and
   Michigan. It also will pay to construct an interchange to connect the NITC to I-75.

• The public-private partnership agreement and the request for proposals must contain provisions
  for community benefit plans and for the involvement of the impacted communities in
  Michigan and Canada.

Snyder proposed the NITC in his January 2011 State of the State address. The project earned the support of a broad international coalition including the agriculture industry, auto companies and suppliers, labor unions, manufacturers, municipal and transportation leaders, chambers of commerce, all of Michigan’s living former governors, the mining industry and utility companies.

The Detroit-Windsor trade corridor is critical to both sides of the border. The existing bridge is the busiest trade crossing on the U.S. - Canada border. About 237,000 Michigan jobs depend on Michigan-Canada trade.

Other benefits of the NITC include:

• The creation of 10,000 jobs related to the NITC project.

• A new direct connection between I-75 in Michigan and Highway 401 in Canada that eases
   traffic congestion at the border and allows trucks to bypass residential communities. The
  existing bridge at the Detroit-Windsor crossing is the No. 1 traffic bottleneck in the entire Pan-
  American Freeway system.

• Reducing costs to job providers, particularly the auto industry. Estimates show that border
   regulations and delays now add significant costs to vehicle production.

• Minimizing the likelihood of an economic disaster for Michigan or Windsor should one of the
  other border crossings sustain a lengthy shutdown.

• Additional capacity to meet the long-term demands of our growing economies.

• New investment being attracted to Michigan by this modern infrastructure.

Construction cost of the bridge itself is estimated at $950 million. The cost will be paid for by the private concessionaire and will be repaid by Canada through tolls. 

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