Canada agreed to front the money after Tea Party activists voted against paying to replace the aging Ambassador Bridge.

There is only one above-ground way for commercial vehicles to get from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, Michigan: the 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge.

The Ambassador Bridge is owned and operated by the Detroit International Bridge Company, which is privately owned by Manuel Moroun and his family. They charge a toll that generates $60 million in annual revenue for the company.

Quartz

MORE FROM QUARTZ:

Oil Companies Likely To Remain on the Hook for Drilling in Nations That Torture Their Citizens

The Four Search Engines That Can't Get Along

America's New Subprime Boom: Cars

Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, and the Canadian government want to build a second bridge to ease traffic on the Ambassador and provide a new conduit for trade. The new bridge is expected to cost $2.3 billion.

 

Under pressure from tea party groups and others, the Michigan legislature declined to fund the proposed bridge.

Not to be deterred, the Canadian government agreed to front as much as $550 million for Michigan’s half of the bridge in exchange for repayment in the form of future toll revenue.

Meanwhile, the US government is allowing Canada’s $550 million investment in Michigan to count toward federal matching funds, releasing $2.2 billion for road work across Michigan.

But the bridge could still be defeated on Election Day. Proposition 6 would require voter approval for any new spending on bridges or tunnels to Canada, including the proposed new bridge. The measure is sponsored by a group backed by Manuel Moroun.

Sources

New International Trade Crossing, Presidential Permit Application (pdf)
Matty Moroun, Detroit’s Border Baron, Bloomberg Businessweek
A Double Crossing From Canada to Detroit?, Bloomberg Businessweek 
They aren’t building that, The Economist 
Bridging the border: Who pays? Michigan Radio
Bridge, union rights, tax measure make Nov. ballot but casino effort blocked Detroit Free Press

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.
    Design

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  3. An illustration of a private train.
    Transportation

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  4. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  5. How To

    Want Solar Panels on Your Roof? Here's What You Need to Know

    A handy reference for navigating an emerging industry.