A U.S. Congressman has introduced legislation designed to clear a path to construct a new international bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich.
U.S. Representative Gary Peters introduced the Customs Plaza Construction Act of 2014 on Wednesday.
It's legislation he hopes will facilitate the construction of customs plaza at trade crossings, including the planned international bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
"The Detroit-Windsor border is one of the busiest and most important trade crossings in North America," Peters said in a press release. "The project will make it easier for Michiganders and businesses in the region to trade with one of our most important trading partners in Canada. The new customs plaza is the critical next step for Michigan and our economy."
In recent weeks, Michigan governor Rick Snyder said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had failed to commit to funding the plaza on the U.S. side, and has said it is a major hurdle in the construction of the crossing.
Canada has pledged to pay for construction of the bridge and land acquisition on the U.S. side of the Detroit River. But the U.S. will have to pay for its own customs plaza.
Peters's legislation has received support from Snyder.
'One of Michigan's strongest assets is its position as the hub of the U.S.-Canada trade relationship.' - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
"One of Michigan's strongest assets is its position as the hub of the U.S.-Canada trade relationship," he is quoted saying in a press release issued by Peters. "Investing in the infrastructure necessary to grow trade between the U.S. and Canada will yield an incredible return through increased economic activity and will create thousands of good paying jobs for Americans."
The project has bipartisan support and has also been endorsed by Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and the president of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"The [new international trade crossing] is the most important infrastructure project in North America in decades, and will benefit our state and nation for generations," said Sandy Baruah, president of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. "[We] support Congressman Peters' efforts and encourage the President and Congress to act expeditiously to move this project forward."
The NITC crossing will be a six-lane bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, linking Highway 401 in Ontario and I-75 and I-94 in Michigan.
The Canadian government has agree to fund construction and land acquisition of the $2.1 billion project, with an agreement with Michigan to be repaid by tolls.