DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the Obama administration and Canada have agreed with Canada for financing a key piece of a planned $2.1 billion bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
The department said Wednesday the agreement involves funding for a toll plaza on the U.S. side of the international crossing.
In return, the U.S. will pay for the workers, operations and maintenance of the plaza in Detroit. The federal government estimates that first-year operations and staffing will cost about $100 million with a yearly cost of about $50 million.
The bridge, called the New International Trade Crossing, will be the second bridge to connect Detroit and Windsor.
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow released a statement saying the agreement "is a critical step forward" for the project, long stymied by opposition from owners of the nearby Ambassador Bridge who seek to add a span of their own across the Detroit River.
The owners of the Ambassador Bridge, Matty Moroun and his family have spent money and effort in Washington courts to block the building of the new bridge. The owners have said that they will lose as much as two-thirds of their bridge business.
Earlier talks involved the Canadian Government paying for a $250 million customs plaza for the New International Trade Crossing. Homeland Security now says a "public-private partnership" will pay for the plaza's construction, with reimbursement from tolls.
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