Senate committee opens bridge hearings
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
A state Senate committee opened hearings today Wednesday on legislation that would start the process of building a new bridge connecting Detroit to Canada. The new bridge would compete with the existing Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor-Ontario.
As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, Governor Rick Snyder would like the Legislature to approve the initial stages of the bridge project by the end of the month.
Representatives of Governor Snyder's administration and the Canadian government were on hand to insist the new bridge is an economic necessity that would not cost Michigan taxpayers any money. Canada has committed to pay all the construction costs with repayment coming from tolls.
Roy Norton is Canada's consul general to Michigan. He says both Michigan and Canada would benefit from expanded border access.
"There are jobs in almost every county of Michigan that depend on companies being able to move things back and forth across the frontier with Canada," he says.
But many Democratic and Republican lawmakers say they remain skeptical the deal would be good for Michigan taxpayers or that a new bridge is necessary, and they say it will take more before they'll cast a vote in favor of it.