Canada, Michigan agree on new bridge in Windsor
CBC News in Windsor has confirmed with multiple sources that Canada has reached an agreement with Michigan’s governor to build a new international bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
According to a report in the Globe and Mail, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet is expected to approve the agreement Wednesday.
A formal announcement from Canada and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is expected later this week.
Several sources confirmed the information for CBC News.
The NDP's border relations critic Brian Masse said the timeline "would make sense."
"I feel good about the potential here. I feel very confident that we will see something happen in a positive way [Wednesday]," Masse said.
Masse said the timeline coincides with the voting on the omnibus bill ending Thursday night and Parliament breaking for the summer.
"It does leave Friday open if they so choose to make an announcement," Masse said of the Conservatives.
A spokesperson from the Prime Minister's Office would not confirm an announcement is in the works.
Canada agrees to offset US costs
In an effort to get Michigan politicians to agree to a new bridge, Canada has offered to pay the Michigan's $550-million share of construction costs. Canada has said it would eventually recoup the cost through bridge tolls.
Snyder has been relentless in his pursuit of a new crossing.
Snyder, Canadian Transport Minister Denis Lebel and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson met in Windsor in May to discuss advancing the new international border crossing.
Members of the U.S. Department of Transportation from Washington, representatives from the Canadian Consulate and senior officials from Transport Canada were also on hand.
"The senior level of participation at this meeting underscores the importance of the meeting and the project to both countries," Transport Canada spokesperson Mark Butler said at the time.
CBC's attempt to reach Lebel on Tuesday wasn't successful.
Masse said that meeting was "laying the groundwork of having something move further."
"It laid the foundation for this next big step," Masse said. "I'm hopeful we'll see concrete action on Wednesday.
"It needs to happen. There’s a road being built and plazas need to be built. It’s coming to a critical timeline where we need to act."
All three levels of government are funding the $1.4-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway, a multi-lane highway that will link the new crossing to Highway 401 in Ontario. The project is already well underway on the Canadian side in anticipation of the approval of a new bridge.
Ambassador Bridge opposes new bridge
In 2010, it was reported that 28,814 trucks crossed the privately-owned Ambassador Bridge on a daily basis.
Almost $500 million US in trade passes daily over the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit. It is the busiest border crossing in North America.
Billionaire Matty Maroun owns the Ambassador Bridge and has waged political and public relations wars against both Michigan and Canadian governments in an effort to stop the construction of a new publicly-owned and publicly-funded bridge.
Maroun spent thousands on TV advertisements critical of Snyder and the idea of a new bridge.