Canada Offers Detroit $550 Million Loan for Detroit/Windsor Bridge Project
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Canada Offers Detroit $550 Million Loan for Detroit/Windsor Bridge Project

Windsor : Canada | Apr 30, 2010 at 6:29 AM PDT
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Doug Baird

Cash strapped Michigan has been offered a $550 Million Dollar Loan by Canada to commence the Detroit/Windsor Bridge project. The bridge would be the major crossing between Canada and the United States.

With an almost integrated market, Canada and the U.S. are each other's largest trading partners, with $1 Billion in daily trade crossing the border.

The loan offer was made on Wednesday by Canadian Transport Minister John Baird to Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in a letter.

The Canadian cash will help Michigan to get the project started on its side of the border including an interchange on Interstate 75.

"This is the most, not one of the most, this is the most important infrastructure project across Canada today and is one of the most important in our history," Baird said.

"The time to get moving is now. The time to create jobs is now."

Canada expects the project to create some 12,000 jobs in the Windsor area, an area with some of the highest unemployment in Canada.

The $5 Billion Dollar project, which will connect Ontario Highway 401 with Interstate 75 was in danger of being held up with politics. By providing this loan there is a good chance that the project will get the green light by Michigan's legislature.

Baird said that the only way to get this project going, based on discussions between Michigan's Governor and Gary Doer the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., was for Canada to help out financially. This was the only way to move the project forward, according to Baird.

The bridge, which is scheduled for opening in 2014, will create thousands of jobs in the Windsor area.

Update:

While there are those on both sides of the border that welcome the new bridge, the Ambassador Bridge Company, owned by Michigan Billionaire Matty Maroun, calls the offer a bribe. Michigan law makers have to vote on the deal by June 1st if it wants to move ahead with the project.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/windsor/story/2010/04/30/wdr-bridge-crossing-reaction-100430.html



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Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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