WINDSOR, ON, Oct. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - The Harper government has introduced legislation to expedite the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project. The legislation, known as the Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act, will ensure the successful and timely construction of the new bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.
"The construction of this bridge to strengthen trade and generate new investment opportunities is a top priority for the Harper government," said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "We are working to advance the project as quickly as possible to ensure continued job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity."
"This legislation is necessary to complete the new bridge between Windsor and Detroit in a timely manner," said Jeff Watson, Member of Parliament for Essex. "A new crossing will enhance the region's economic potential, make our manufacturers more competitive and create new jobs in Windsor and Essex County."
"Many businesses in Chatham-Kent and Leamington depend on an efficient Windsor-Detroit border," added Dave Van Kesteren, Member of Parliament for Chatham-Kent—Essex. "We need to get this new crossing completed without delay so that local businesses and farms can continue to reach existing and new markets in the United States."
This legislation also supports the establishment of a crossing authority by Canada as stipulated in the Canada-Michigan Crossing Agreement which was signed on June 15, 2012.
Canada and the United States operate the largest trading partnership in the history of the planet. Every day, almost 400,000 people and almost two billion dollars of goods and services cross the border. The vast majority of bilateral trade crosses the border by land - much of it at Detroit-Windsor. The new Detroit River International Crossing will speed up the movement of international trade and ensure that this strategic corridor remains efficient and secure.
The new bridge will also reduce congestion at this critical Canada-U.S. border crossing, support the creation of new export-related jobs and investment opportunities along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, increase the competitiveness of the North American manufacturing sector, and generate thousands of construction jobs in Ontario and Michigan.
The new crossing is also a key component of the Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor and further demonstrates that the Government of Canada is working to advance the goals of the Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competiveness announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in December 2011.
Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act
The Windsor-Detroit corridor is Canada's most important trade artery and the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing, handling almost 30 percent of Canada-U.S. surface trade. To ensure that the Windsor-Detroit border remains efficient and secure, the Government of Canada, together with its partners, is building a new international bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.
The project, known as the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project, will facilitate the movement of people and goods between Canada and the U.S. by ensuring that there is sufficient infrastructure capacity to handle projected growth in cross border trade and traffic in the Windsor-Detroit trade corridor. It will also provide a much-needed crossing alternative at the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing and create thousands of jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.
The DRIC project supports Canada's Economic Action Plan for ensuring long-term prosperity, growing international trade and investment, and creating jobs.
To expedite construction of this vital new border crossing, the Government of Canada has introduced new legislation - An Act Respecting a Bridge Spanning the Detroit River between Windsor and Detroit and Other Works, also known as the Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act.
There are several benefits to this new legislation.
As the new bridge will be built by the private sector under a Public-Private Partnership (P3), the new legislation will bring certainty to the P3 market for the construction of the DRIC project.
The new legislation will exempt the construction of the DRIC from a number of federal laws under which permits, approvals or authorizations would normally be required. The Act however would compel the project proponents (including the P3 partner) to comply with the intent of these laws even though a permit/ approval would not be issued. Transport Canada will continue to work with federal responsible agencies to ensure that environmental mitigation measures comply with the intent of all federal laws pertaining to environmental protection, fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, species at risk and navigable waters.
The new legislation will also clarify a number of corporate governance issues and will provide minor amendments to the International Bridges and Tunnels Act to facilitate implementation of the project, including the establishment of a crossing authority.
The Government of Canada signed an agreement with Michigan in June 2012. The agreement, together with this new legislation, is a significant step towards the construction of the new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
SOURCE: Transport Canada
For further information:
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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