Howe bridge unaffected by Trump election, Canada says

Leonard N. Fleming, and Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

The building of the Gordie Howe Bridge won’t be affected by the election of Donald Trump and will remain on schedule, Canadian officials said Thursday.

“We do not anticipate any impact to the project. WDBA has a great relationship with our U.S. partners and we are fully committed to building our two countries,” said Dwight Duncan, chairman of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Board of Directors in a statement.

After Trump’s election Tuesday, the $2.1 billion bridge came one step closer to spanning two cities that idolized its namesake Red Wings icon when both Michigan and Canadian officials on Thursday announced their request for bids from teams looking to work on the span.

Douglas George, the consul general of Canada, said his country has a good relationship with various border agencies such as Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard, among others, and that he and other Canadian officials don’t see any issues arising.

“And we’re confident that that cooperation will continue under the new administration,” George said.

George said Canada is financing the building of the various customs plaza areas and the U.S. government will be responsible for staffing their side. The bridge and cooperation, he said, are “ beneficial to both sides” and he doesn’t see that changing.

“From both our points of view, this is a bridge that’s going to bring economic benefits to both sides of the border,” he said. “First of all, Canada is paying for it. The new government as well as the previous government are strongly committed to seeing the project through. Canada is the largest customer for Michigan and 35 others states. We buy more from Michigan than any other country in the world.”

The Howe span will become a six-lane, 11/2-mile long bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor.

The request for proposals was released by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge will open doors to global markets and enhance the essential trade relationships between Canada, Michigan and the United States,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement.

“Progress on this critical infrastructure is accelerating and that progress will continue,” Snyder said. “The issuance of the RFP, which is the result of thousands of hours of work and consultation by Canada, Michigan and many other project stakeholders, is an all-important milestone that we have achieved together. The Gordie Howe International Bridge will be a fitting monument to the partnership between Michigan and Canada that has made our countries and our people part of an inseparable winning team.”

Officials said the new bridge will create thousands of jobs, enhance trade and “leave a lasting legacy of the vital partnership between Canada and the United States.”

The Detroit-Windsor trade corridor already is the busiest commercial land crossing on the two countries’ border, officials said. It sees around 2.5 million trucks carrying over $75 billion in trade per year.

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in North America because of its vital role in maintaining and growing Canada’s most important trade relationship and closest partnership with the United States,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

“This new border crossing, allowing traffic to move freely from the Windsor-Detroit border, through southern Ontario and beyond, will create significant economic benefits for Canadian businesses. I commend Governor Snyder and his government for their important work on Michigan property acquisition. This project is extremely complex, and it is moving forward thanks to the continued collaboration of many groups on both sides of the border.”

Work already is underway on ports of entry on both sides of the border, officials said.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter: @leonardnfleming