Economic Development, Government, and Travel & Tourism

State appoints exec to international bridge board

July 30, 2014
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State appoints exec to international bridge board
Birgit Klohs. Courtesy The Right Place

A local economic development leader has been appointed to the board that will oversee the $2 billion New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Michigan Governor Rick Synder and Canadian Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced today the appointment of Birgit Klohs, CEO of The Right Place in Grand Rapids, as one of the six members of the new International Authority, which will oversee construction of the bridge.

The Right Place has been a strong supporter of the initiative.

“I am proud to represent our state, our region and The Right Place on this new crossing authority,” Klohs said.

Oversight

The International Authority members will work with the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, which was established in response to the Canada-Michigan Crossing Agreement, signed in June 2012, to develop, finance, operate and maintain the publicly owned bridge.

Two of the oversight responsibilities the authority will manage include approving key steps in the public-private partnership procurement process and monitoring the compliance of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority with the Crossing Agreement.

The International Authority consists of three people from Michigan: Michael Hayes, Matt Rizik and Klohs. Two of the three Canadian board members were also announced today: Kristine Burr, who will serve as chairperson of the International Authority, and Genevieve Gagnon.

The remaining member is expected to be selected by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority in the near future.

Project milestone

Snyder said the milestone is the latest achievement in the exciting project, which will create short and long-term employment opportunities, energize the economy and enhance security for Michigan and Canada.

“We’re fortunate to have such talented, dedicated appointees who are willing to serve,” Snyder said. “I am confident they will provide the expertise and guidance that will make the NITC a shining example of international cooperation and economic success.”

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority appointments

The Canadian Minister of Transport also announced the appointment of Michele “Michael” Cautillo as president and chief executive officer of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. Several other appointments were also made today: Mark McQueen as chairperson of the board of directors; William Graham as director; and Caroline Mulroney Lapham as director.

Canada’s Raitt said the appointments to the International Authority and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority are a significant step forward in building the new bridge between Michigan and Canada.

“These individuals bring strong leadership skills, engineering, legal and financial expertise and wide-ranging business experience to the International Authority and the WDBA board,” Riatt said. “We will benefit greatly from their knowledge and commitment to community service.”

The bridge

The planned bridge consists of four infrastructure components: the bridge, a Canadian port of entry, a U.S. port of entry and an interchange connection to I-75 in Michigan.

The state and Canada anticipate the bridge will increase trade, investment and assist in the creation of employment on both sides of the international border.

The bridge will also provide increased crossing capacity to accommodate existing and future traffic and create an alternate commercial crossing.

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