Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced Friday that the city would sell $48 million in land and other assets to help finance costs related to the construction of the $2 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, according to The Detroit News.
The money will be used to fund a job-training program to help locals secure bridge construction and operations positions ($10 million); upgrades to outfit homes in the area with central air conditioning and filtration systems ($9 million); resident relocation ($26 million); asset purchases for city utility agencies ($3 million); and an air monitoring system to be used during construction ($2.4 million).
Prior to the Detroit asset sale, the state had only acquired 70% of the land needed to allow the project to go forward. It now has the necessary Detroit property but still must acquire land outside the city limits. The agreement still must win Detroit City Council approval.
In May, the Windsor–Detroit Bridge Authority said construction on the bridge should begin next summer but that it would not select a public-private partnership joint venture until May or June of 2018. In addition to designing and constructing the bridge, the winning group will also maintain it for 30 years.
Canada is going to front the construction costs, including Michigan's share of $550 million, according to the Detroit News, although Gov. Rick Snyder has asked the federal government to kick in $250 million to help build a toll plaza on the U.S. side. The state will pay back any Canadian funding through toll collection once the bridge is operational.
The bridge will be the second one connecting the U.S. and Canada by way of Detroit. The other is the Ambassador Bridge, which is privately owned and handles about 25% of trade traffic between the two countries. Bridge owner Manuel Mouron has filed legal challenges in the hopes of stopping construction of the new Gordie Howe crossing.
The new bridge has won the support of both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump. In February, the two leaders issued a joint statement calling for an accelerated construction schedule on the project.
Major construction companies involved in bidding the project include Bechtel, AECOM, Barton Malow, Fluor Canada and Turner Construction.