September 28, 2010 12:00 PM, EDT

Michigan Vote Expected on New Detroit River Crossing

Backers of a proposal for a new publicly owned bridge across the Detroit River to Ontario said the Michigan State Senate will vote on a bill before year’s end to allow a public private partnership to build the span.

The $5.3 billion project would produce 10,000 direct jobs and eliminate the traffic chokepoint at the Ambassador Bridge, the only existing crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, said Sen. Raymond Basham (D).

“I can tell you point blank that there will be a vote this year,” said Basham, who represents the Detroit suburbs.

The aging Ambassador Bridge is owned by trucking and real estate executive Matty Moroun, who is battling to keep a new bridge from being built.

Canada, has offered to put up the state’s $550 million share of construction costs for the $5.3 billion project. The loan would be repaid with bridge tolls. (Click here for previous coverage.)

The Michigan House has already approved a bill to allow for the new crossing. If a Senate vote occurs, however, it would have to be in the lame duck session, as the legislature adjourns this month for election campaigning.