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Bridge PPP eyed to better Canada-Michigan trade

Michigan and Canada have finally reached agreement on a long-planned new crossing between Detroit and Windsor. Canada will shoulder the cost of the PPP, which will have an availability payment structure.

After several years in the making, a unique public-private partnership (PPP) to build a bridge between Michigan and Canada is going ahead to enhance their $70 billion-a-year trade relationship, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced.

Snyder, a former businessman and Republican, pointed out his state would not shoulder the cost of the project, with Canada using an availability payment structure with its chosen private partner. Canada will spend $550 million that will be eligible as US federal matching aid.

The bridge project, dubbed the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), will provide a “modern, strategically located bridge between Detroit and Windsor,” according to a statement from the government of the state of Michigan.

The bridge will have a 40 or 50-year concession agreement. Michigan will not charge a toll. Canada, meanwhile, will use its tolling revenue to reimburse funding from its federal government, which will also handle the cost of acquiring land in both Canada and Michigan.

Construction for the actual bridge will total $950 million and will be paid for by the private partner. A due date for a request for proposals (RFP) could not be ascertained.

The announcement went on to claim the project would provide both long- and short-term employment, while noting that trade between Canada and Michigan is responsible for supporting 237,000 jobs in Michigan.

Snyder, who assumed office in January 2011, proposed the NITC in his state of the state address.