Canada and the United States sign Memorandum of Cooperation leading to increased border capacity and an efficient and secure Detroit-Windsor corridor



    OTTAWA, Nov. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Today in Washington, D.C., the Honourable
Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and
United States Secretary of Transportation, Mary E. Peters, announced that the
two countries have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to maintain a high
priority on the development of enhanced capacity of the border-crossing
infrastructure in the Detroit-Windsor region. The MOC follows the direction
given at the North American Leaders' Summit on August 21, 2007, in Montebello,
Quebec, Canada by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United
States.
    "Canada is experiencing the second-largest period of economic expansion
in Canadian history. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to
developing additional border capacity along the Windsor-Detroit corridor,"
said Minister Cannon. "It is a crucial support to the continued growth of the
economies of Canada and the United States."
    "Providing new capacity at this critical crossing will strengthen our
economies, cut congestion, and improve the flow of goods and people that
define the special relationship between our two nations," Secretary Peters
said.
    Increased border crossing capacity and an efficient and secure
Windsor-Detroit Corridor are key priorities for the governments of Canada and
the United States. The MOC provides opportunities for the two governments to
commit publicly to continue working together to develop a crossing that not
only benefits the economies of Michigan and Ontario, but supports the
economies of our two countries. Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of
Transportation will coordinate with interested federal agencies and with
provincial and state partners to strengthen collaboration on this critical
project.
    A backgrounder on the Detroit River International Crossing project is
attached.


    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                 DETROIT RIVER INTERNATIONAL CROSSING PROJECT

    To enhance the movement of international trade and travel across our
shared border at Windsor-Detroit, the governments of Canada (Transport
Canada); the United States (U.S. Federal Highway Administration - FHWA, U.S.
Department of Transportation); Ontario (Ontario Ministry of Transportation -
MTO); and Michigan (Michigan Department of Transportation - MDOT), have been
working in a bi-national partnership to implement a 30-year transportation
strategy to meet the long-term transportation and mobility needs of the area.
    The partnership is considering an entire border transportation system with
new river crossing, inspection plazas, and access roads. This Detroit River
International Crossing Project (DRIC) aims to achieve an end-to-end solution
that will best meet current and future mobility needs, while minimizing
impacts on the surrounding communities and environment to the greatest
practical extent.
    The first stage of this process was completed with the publishing of the
Planning/Needs and Feasibility Study in January 2004. As part of the second
stage leading to the implementation of major transportation improvements, the
Partnership proceeded with a formal harmonized, comprehensive environmental
study process in February 2005. The DRIC study team presented 15 river
crossing alternatives with their associated plazas and access roads for public
consultation in June 2005.
    In March 2006, the partnership announced that the new crossing would be a
bridge and identified three specific options for the river crossing and
inspection plazas and design alternatives for the identified connecting roads
that would be subject to further detailed assessment.
    The next phase of the study is examining the opportunities and challenges
of the various specific options in more detail. Technical work that is
currently underway as part of the environmental assessment process includes:
seismic studies; acoustic site reviews and noise assessment/modelling; air
quality assessments; archeological studies, and mitigation studies. The
technical team continues to actively engage the community and stakeholders in
this process through public meetings and open houses in both Canada and the
United States.
    Detailed evaluation of these options will lead to identification of a
single preferred alternative by the spring of 2008. The environmental
assessment documentation will be submitted for approval by governmental
authorities by late 2008 with formal approvals expected in 2009.
    Concurrent with the environmental assessment process, the bi-national
partners are working to develop a governance regime for the new border
crossing, which will provide for appropriate public oversight in both
countries, and the means to procure the crossing. The Government of Canada has
constitutional jurisdiction over the Canadian half of the crossing and has
stated its preference to enter into partnerships with the private sector to
design, build, finance, and operate the crossing. The State of Michigan will
determine the ownership of the U.S. half.

                                                              November 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Sarah Echols, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, D.C., (202) 366-4570; Mark Butler, Communications,
Windsor Gateway Project, Transport Canada, Windsor, (519) 967-4280; Transport
Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at
www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada;
This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons
with visual disabilities.


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