Windsor

Foes of new Gordie Howe bridge lose key Michigan court decision

Michigan's appeals court ruled in favour of the state Thursday in a challenge to a second bridge being built between Detroit and Canada.

'Canada assumed financial responsibility for the project,' Michigan's appeals court ruled

Construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge in November 2019. (CBC)

Michigan's appeals court ruled in favour of the state Thursday in a challenge to a second bridge being built between Detroit and Canada.

Companies controlled by the Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge, sued over the condemnation of land to make room for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. They argued that the agreement with Canada is illegal, because lawmakers barred Michigan from spending tax dollars on the project, among other claims.

"Canada assumed financial responsibility for the project, and any money spent by Michigan is reimbursed by Canada," the appeals court said. "While some Michigan funds might be used momentarily, no Michigan funds are ultimately expended under the crossing agreement."

Michigan's Legislature requires the state's transportation department to keep it informed with various reports, the court said.

"This is, once again, an indication that the legislature approves of the way that the [bridge] project is moving forward, including the way payments for condemned properties are being handled," Michigan judges Mark Cavanagh and Michael Kelly said.

The bridge, named for a resident of Canada who played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, is expected to open in 2024.

"This emphatic ruling means progress will continue on a project that is spurring growth and creating good-paying jobs in Detroit, Windsor and across the region," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

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