Best if Canada pays for $250M U.S. customs plaza, says U.S.

When it comes to a new $250-million U.S. Customs Plaza in Detroit, the Department of Homeland Security says the best possible outcome would be for Canada to pay for it all.

Transport Canada says if Canada does pay, it would recoup the cost through bridge tolls

Washington has yet to commit $250 million US to new U.S. customs plaza in Detroit.

When it comes to a new $250-million U.S. Customs Plaza in Detroit, the Department of Homeland Security says the best possible outcome would be for Canada to pay for it all.

The department says by Canada paying the bill, it would keep the project on track.

The U.S. government has not yet allocated funds for the plaza that's needed to eventually finish the new international crossing connecting west Windsor and Detroit, Michigan.

The two cities already share two international crossing, the privately-owned, nearly-90-year-old Ambassador Bridge and the publicly-owned Windsor-Detroit Tunnel.

Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama tabled a budget that again did not include funding for the new U.S. plaza.

Tuesday, the department of homeland security said the U.S. Government was not party to the international agreement Canada and the State of Michigan signed three years ago.

However, the new bridge did receive a much-needed presidential permit, which allows the project to move forward.

Homeland security claimed on Tuesday that if U.S. government funds were not available to build the plaza, "the Canadian public private partnership would step in."

Transport Canada tells CBC that Canada may end up paying for the plaza and recouping the cost through tolls as part of a public private partnership.

It also says discussions with the Americans on how to fund the U.S. customs plaza are ongoing.

Read the full text of the Department of Homeland Security's Marsha Catron email to CBC News below:

Although the Administration has made the funding of Land Ports of Entry a priority, Congressional support for such projects has not been forthcoming at anywhere near the magnitude that the Administration has sought.

With respect to Federal funding for NITC, the initial agreement between the State of Michigan and Canada stated that in the event that Federal funds for the US LPOE were not available, the Canadian Public Private Partnership (PPP) would step in.  The USG was not a party to that agreement.

In light of those circumstances, the best possible outcome would be for the Canadian PPP that is funding the bridge and Canadian toll plaza to also provide funding for the design and construction of the US LPOE.  That will keep this important project on track.


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