Efforts to build a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor are expected to take a big step forward today with the announcement of a new joint Michigan-Canadian panel to oversee the project.
Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt are due to announce the members of the six-member commission this morning at a Windsor news conference. Three members each will come from Michigan and Windsor.
Naming a joint oversight board was one of the requirements in the 2012 agreement signed by Snyder with Canadian officials to build the New International Trade Crossing bridge.
The NITC will cost almost $1 billion and span the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor about two miles downstream from the Ambassador Bridge.
Having been talked about for many years, the bridge project picked up steam after the 2012 agreement was signed. Since then, the project has acquired the needed permits to go ahead and withstood a vigorous court challenge from the Moroun family that owns the Ambassador Bridge. The Morouns hope to kill the NITC project because it is likely to draw significant traffic and toll revenue away from their privately owned bridge.
But the NITC project still faces daunting tasks before its planned opening around 2020. Among those tasks: buying land on the Detroit side for a U.S. Customs plaza, and getting the U.S. government to commit to paying for that plaza, a step that is yet to happen. The U.S. government’s failure to do so has frustrated Snyder and Canadian officials who hoped to have all such loose ends tied up by now.
Contact John Gallagher at 313-222-5173 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jgallagherfreep.