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Canada waiting for U.S. to support bridge

The proposed New International Trade Crossing bridge.

Canadian officials are saying the proposed U.S.-Canadian bridge is not getting the U.S. funding it needs.

That could mean the New International Trade Crossing – the second bridge between Detroit and Windsor – could be postponed beyond the project’s 2020 completion date.

As Jim Lynch of the Detroit News reports, Canadian officials are offering up $630 million to build the new bridge.

The only thing the Canadians aren’t paying for is the customs office that would need to go on the U.S. side of the bridge.

Earlier negotiations signaled the U.S. government would foot about $250 million for a border inspection plaza.

But President Barack Obama’s administration isn’t budgeting for the bridge – which is making Canadian planners a little nervous.

From the Detroit News:

“We haven’t gotten any sign from the (Obama) administration that the money will be included in this year’s budget, so I suppose that’s a source of some anxiety,” Roy Norton, Canada’s consul general in Detroit, said. “We are proceeding and demonstrating our goodwill, and we welcome a demonstration of goodwill from the U.S. side – even if it’s only a commitment and not the money itself this year.”

Gov. Rick Snyder isn’t exactly pleased either.

In January, Snyder told the Detroit Free Press’s editorial board that, “The U.S. government has largely taken a position that they don’t think they should pay anything for a facility for the United States government.”

Snyder’s not the only American pushing on the U.S. government to cough up money for the second bridge, which is slated to improve traffic conditions at the U.S.-Canadian border.

Earlier in February, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Michigan 14th District, proposed a bill for funding the customs office.

But even Peters isn’t entirely confident the government will support the proposal. From The Detroit News:

“For projects, even those that have across-the-board support ... it’s contentious enough (in D.C.) to get bills through ..."

About two miles south of the 82-year-old Ambassador Bridge, the New International Trade Crossing was proposed to lighten the load of international traffic on the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international land border crossing in North America. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the bridge area accommodates “27 percent of the approximately $400 billion in annual trade between Canada and the U.S.”

– Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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