(Mackinac) – Governor Rick Snyder surprised many when he let it be known that a bridge deal is almost done. With Matty Maroun lobbying legislators, it seemed like nothing was going to happen any time soon, but it appears Governor Snyder is taking a different approach – one that doesn’t require legislative approval.
The only obstacle now is that the Canadians want to use cheaper Chinese steel for construction, and due to US federal restrictions that may not be possible.
The New international Trade Crossing is expected to cost $1.5 billion, with $550 million of that being the responsibility of Michigan to pay. However, since Michigan is broke, Canada has agreed to foot the bill, and recoup their money from Michigan’s share of the tolls.
To get the deal done without legislative approval, Michigan is working with Canada and the U.S. federal government in something called an interlocal agreement. This allows separate government agencies to share their budgets in order to accomplish a common goal.
Governor Snyder is trying to use the construction of the new bridge to get $2 billion in additional funds to repair local roads and bridges, and that’s the only thing delaying the deal right now.
Because of the indirect federal funding, there is a requirement to use domestic steel if available, even though it is more expensive. The Canadians do not want to pay more than necessary, but once this sticking point is resolved, construction will begin.
According to sources close to Governor Snyder, the deal will get done, and will be done in weeks – not months. The project is expected to create around 10,000 construction jobs on both sides of the border.