A second crossing over the Detroit River has been discussed for months, and on April 29 Canada offered $550 million to help construct the Michigan portion.
The state of Michigan continues to struggle with debt, and without financial assistance a new bridge was out of the question. Calling the Canadian offer “an enormous gift,” Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said the construction of such a span, which would connect I-75, would create 10,000 construction-related jobs. The loan will be paid back with toll receipts, and total cost for the new bridge is expected to be more than $2.2 billion.
Officials are hoping that the second crossing promotes more commerce between Canada and the U.S. and reduces security risks.
Dan Stamper, president of the Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the Ambassador Bridge, believes a second bridge is unnecessary because traffic has dropped off the Ambassador in recent months. However, Manuel Moroun, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, also has plans for a new crossing.
Michigan state legislature still needs to authorize a public-private partnership to handle the design, finance, construction and operations of the new span, and Michigan still needs to purchase the necessary right-of-way. If all goes well, construction could start in 18 months.