Trudeau, Trump push for speedy construction of Gordie Howe International Bridge

Dive Brief:

  • President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have issued a joint statement of support for an accelerated construction schedule on the new $2.1 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge, according to Crain's Detroit Business.
  • The bridge — which would connect Detroit and Ontario — is a priority for Canada, and the country has agreed to finance the entire project now and be repaid through tolls after it opens.
  • Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has lobbied the Trump administration for the cash to support construction of a $250 million customs toll plaza on the U.S. side of the border. The state would pay for its portion of the construction cost through tolls collected at the plaza.

Dive Insight:

The U.S.-Canada bridge was included on a list of 50 high-priority projects the Trump administration reportedly assembled last month and then circulated among U.S. governors for input. The project has been hung up by land acquisition delays, although it is 95% permitted and complete with engineering.

The bridge is being built via a public-private partnership (P3). The teams that will bid on the project include the joint ventures of Bridging North America, CanAm Gateway Partners and Legacy Link Partners. The contract will be with the Canadian-based Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, and the P3 team will collect toll revenue through a multi-year concession deal that will should see at least 2.5 million cargo trucks cross there each year.

Many of the infrastructure projects on Trump's list are designated as P3s, a trend that falls in line with his campaign proposal to leverage private investment for public projects via an 82% tax break. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, provided a few more details last month when said that there would most likely be a $40 private investment for every $1 of public money. However, Democrats have vowed to block any measure that doesn't provide for significant, direct federal spending.

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Filed Under: Infrastructure Legal/Regulation
Top image credit: Getty Images/Saul Loeb