Economic Development and Government

Feds have no money for NITC bridge

Span between Detroit and Canada is left out of Obama’s 2016 budget.

February 6, 2015
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(As seen on WZZM TV 13) With a deadline of 2020 growing closer, the New International Trade Crossing, which will stretch between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, was once again left out of President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016.

Project organizers had been hopeful the federal government would appropriate the $250 million needed for the U.S. Inspection Plaza.

Canada has agreed to finance the brunt of the $2.1 billion project, including the construction of the Canadian customs plaza and the Windsor Essex Parkway connecting the crossing to Highway 401 in Ontario, as well as investing $550 million on the Michigan side of the bridge. Canada will recoup this investment through tolls and fees.

“While disappointing that the NITC is not included as a separate, dedicated line item, all stakeholders to this critical infrastructure project — including Michigan, Canada and the federal government — are engaged in ongoing conversations about financing the construction, operation and maintenance of the customs plaza,” said Sara Wurfel, press secretary for Gov. Rick Snyder.

Wurfel said the governor would remain “relentless on this issue” and the project is moving “full steam ahead.”

“We are satisfied that the issues relating to the plaza will not in any way delay it,” Wurfel said.

When asked last week about other options for funding, Snyder responded, “What I would say is we are continuing to try to have a positive dialogue with the United States government about them contributing. It didn’t show up in the (President’s) recent budget (proposal) but I think there are still opportunities to continue those discussions, not just for the NITC, but for the Blue Water Bridge too.”

The Blue Water Bridge spans the St. Clair River and carries international traffic between Port Huron and Point Edward and Sarnia, Ontario.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters also released a statement on the NITC.

“I am very disappointed that the President’s budget allocates no funding for the New International Trade Crossing in Detroit,” Peters said.

“This is a project that will create thousands of Michigan jobs, enhance trade with Canada — our closest trading partner, and transform Michigan into a transportation and logistics hub for trade, manufacturing and innovation.

“As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I will continue working with Congress, the Obama administration, the Snyder administration and the Canadian government to pursue all options to ensure funding for construction and staffing of the customs plaza.”

The Toronto Globe and Mail reported last week that a deal may be finalized next month in which Canada would end up paying for the U.S. Customs Plaza.

The current Detroit-Windsor corridor supports 31 percent of trade carried by truck between the two nations. In 2012, approximately 2.5 million trucks crossed through the corridor, supporting $105.6 billion in trade.

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