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Detroit-Windsor bridge plan progresses despite no money for customs plaza


The $1.1 trillion  budget that President Obama signed this week did not include money for a customs plaza in Detroit.

The customs plaza is needed for the New International Trade Crossing, the bridge to be built between Windsor and Detroit.

“Conversations are ongoing. We do not believe that the plaza issue will interfere with progress on this project,” said Andy Doctoroff, Governor Rick Snyder’s point-man on the NITC project.

The governor’s office insists the U.S. should pay for its own customs plaza. Canadian officials have suggested they might make the money available.

Canada is already paying the up-front costs of the nearly $2 billion bridge project. It’s not waiting for the U.S. to come up with the $250 million needed for the plaza. A bridge authority is in place, the project is acquiring land, and designs are being drawn up.

Doctoroff says getting the money for the customs plaza right now is not critical.

“The project will stay on track even if this issue is not resolved in the near-term future. And there is a lot of progress that is being made at this time,” Doctoroff insisted.

Money for the customs plaza is likely to remain questionable. As a Detroit Free Press article explained this spring, the U.S. government is putting border resources along the U.S. – Mexico border rather than along the Canadian border.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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