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Thursday, 24 January 2013

New US-Canada bridge to be built this year

By CCTV correspondent Craig Mauro
The U.S. and Canada have the largest two-way trade relationship in the world. But you might be surprised to learn that the most vital piece of infrastructure sustaining that trade is more than 80 years-old and privately owned.
More commercial goods cross this one bridge connecting Detroit with the Canadian city of Windsor every year than are traded between the U.S. and the entire United Kingdom. Auto manufacturer Chrysler alone sends 400,000 trucks across it each year.

Yet the "Ambassador Bridge" is more than 80 years-old. Its customs plazas are congested, and on the Canadian side traffic empties not onto a freeway, but into city streets.
Roy Norton, Canadian Consul-General, Detroit, said, "It was built in an era when bridges were built to last 50 years. We hope that it will continue to endure for a while, but we have no idea how long it will last."
A new border crossing is in fact in the works-slated to go up at this site a few miles to the south. Because of difficult economic times in Michigan, only one side is paying for it.
Planning for a new border crossing here began back in 2004, but when it became clear that the state of Michigan’s legislature would not put up financing for it, the government of Canada decided to pay for the project entirely on its own - including $550 million in cash financing - and guaranteeing Michigan would bear no financial risk.
Officials from the Canada and U.S. governments have announced plans to build
a new Canadian-financed bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
The Ambassador Bridge is one of the few international border crossings in North America that’s privately owned and operated. The owner - Detroit logistics magnate, Matty Moroun, spent millions of dollars mounting a referendum campaign last year to block the new crossing, but that failed.
Benjamin Erulkar, Senior VP of Detroit Regional Chamber, said, "The need for a new bridge is obvious, for economic reasons, for community development reasons, for security reasons as well. It’s time."
Canada says it hopes to have the bridge finished by 2018. Land acquisition and planning will start this year once a U.S. presidential permit is granted-a formality that many involved expect to happen soon. 
.cntv.cn
24/01/13

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