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May 25, 2010 10:30 AM, EDT

LaHood Calls Canada’s Bridge Offer ‘Extraordinary’

Government Would Help Fund U.S. Side of a New Detroit-Windsor Bridge

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called Canada’s offer to pay up to $550 million for the U.S. side of a proposed new bridge between Detroit and Ontario “quite extraordinary,” the Canadian Press reported.

LaHood said he is waiting to see if the Michigan state legislature will vote to allow the state to get involved with the $5.3 billion project, CP reported.



Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) announced the offer to state lawmakers during a legislative hearing late last month. (Click here for previous story.)

The Ambassador Bridge is the current crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, and more than a quarter of trade between the U.S. and Canada crosses it, CP reported.

The bridge’s owner, the Detroit International Bridge Co., has threatened to sue Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement, claiming Canada is trying to undermine it by coercing Michigan into building a new, competing span.

The Michigan House could vote as soon as this week on legislation that would permit the Michigan Department of Transportation to enter into a relationship with Canada and a private project developer.

State legislators are facing a June 1 deadline to approve bills allowing Michigan to join the new project, CP reported.