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New international bridge clears major hurdle with Canada paying for customs plaza

Feb 18, 2015

The Detroit skyline as seen from Windsor.

A new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor has cleared another major obstacle.

U.S. and Canadian officials announced an agreement on Wednesday that would have Canada pay for a customs plaza on Michigan’s side of the bridge.

The cost of the plaza has been estimated at $250 million to $300 million.

The U.S. government has been slow to approve funding for the plaza, despite Canada's commitment to pay for most of the up-front costs of the bridge and road construction. Canada will be repaid through future toll revenues.

“I certainly would have preferred to have the federal government being there as a partner, putting funds up front for the customs plaza. But I think the important thing right now is that it’s moving forward,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., told reporters during an unrelated event in Lansing.

“This is an incredible important infrastructure project for Michigan. It’s also a very important infrastructure project for the whole country. So the key right now is to get it moving forward.”

Peters says he is pleased that Washington will pay for staffing and operational costs at the plaza. Those costs are estimated to be about $100 million in the first year and $50 million per year after that.