Michigan Governor Snyder meeting with Canadians on downriver governments bridge Detroit to Windsor
By Peter Samuel
Thursday morning senior Michigan, Ontario, US and Canadian government officials met In Windsor for neartly three hours of talks over proposals to advance construction of a new multi-government sponsored bridge two miles downriver of the Ambassador Bridge. Attending the meeting were Michigan governor Rick Snyder, Canadian transport minister Denis Lebel, US ambassador to Canada David Jacobson, US deputy secretary transportation John Porcari and other senior officials of the four governments.
Not much was said after the meeting but there are reports Michigan Governor Snyder is working on a way to get around the state legislature which has consistently refused to support the new crossing.
Legislators say they aren't persuaded there is sufficient traffic or revenue to justify the crossing which would be the fourth at the Michigan-Ontario border.
The existing three crossings (Ambassador, Blue Water, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel) with 12 lanes between them handle a mere 45,000 vehicles/day, a volume comfortably handled elsewhere by a single bridge of 4 or perhaps 6 lanes. Skeptics say the congestion is caused by border clearance queueing not lack of bridge deck.
Regardless of the thin traffic supporters of the government owned bridge like Governor Snyder and the Canadians express determination to build it. The Canadians already have a nice expressway approach to the new bridge under construction on their side. And the bridge has all the necessary environmental and planning permits.
In Michigan opinion polls have suggested public skepticism similar to that in the state legislature. A ballot measure to bar the use of taxpayer money for any new crossing is being sponsored by the Ambassador Bridge company for a popular vote in the November election.