New Windsor-Detroit bridge in hands of Michigan voters

The Michigan Supreme Court will let the state's voters decide the fate of the proposed bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

$1-billion bridge now in jerpardy, NDP border critic 'concerned' about road to nowhere

The Ambassador Bridge Company has won the latest border-crossing battle. (CP File)

The Michigan Supreme Court will let the state's voters decide the fate of the proposed bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

The Board of State Canvassers had decided a petition assembled by billionaire Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun's company should not be included in this November's election. However, on Wednesday the Michigan Supreme Court overturned that decision.

Voters will now go to the polls on the issue.

A spokesperson for the bridge company who helped lead the petition drive said the decision is a victory for the more than 600,000 voters who signed the petition.

Mark Butler, Transport Canada's strategic policy manager of the Gateway Project, said the department had no comment on the decision. He said it would be "inappropriate to comment" on a Michigan matter.

The NDP's border critic, Windsor West MP Brian Masse, called the decision disappointing.

"It's disappointing because so much work has been put in place," Masse said. "What we're going to do now is work together, businesses, governments and those who want progressive action on our border to take place."

Masse said he respects the democratic process of a vote but said he wants Michigan voters to know a second crossing is critical.

Construction of a new, $1.4-billion superhighway linking Highway 401 and the new crossing is well underway.

"I'm concerned," Masse said when asked if a road to nowhere is being built. "They had a series of ribbon-cutting ceremonies and we didn't have the full completion.

"That doesn't send the right message. I'm not going to celebrate until we get the actual crossing done."

In June, Ottawa and Michigan struck a deal to build a new Canadian-financed bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ont., a move that government and business interests said will generate jobs and economic growth on both sides of the border.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder jointly made the announcement on both sides of the Detroit River, which separates the two cities by less than a kilometre.

Under that agreement, Michigan wouldn't be obligated to pay any of the anticipated $1-billion cost of the bridge.

A Canadian entity would handle design, construction and operation of the new span, which will connect Windsor’s west end to the Delray community in Detroit.