July, 30, 2014 - Speech by the Minister of Transport to announce members of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and the International Authority

Bonjour. (Good morning)

Je suis heureuse d’être ici aujourd’hui en compagnie du gouverneur Rick Snyder.
(I am pleased to be here today and to be joined by Governor Rick Snyder.)

Le Canada et les États-Unis ont une relation très importante et inestimable, grâce à laquelle nos relations commerciales viennent renforcer nos économies et stimuler notre prospérité.
(Canada and the United States share a very important and valued relationship. As part of this, our trade partnership strengthens our economies and fuels our prosperity.)

But to support growth in trade we need efficient transportation networks, and nowhere is this more critical than where we are today.

The Detroit River International Crossing – also known as the New International Trade Crossing – is crucial to the economic prosperity of our countries.

Last year, 30 percent of Canada-U.S. trade – worth more than 120 billion dollars – crossed through the Detroit-Windsor trade corridor.

Carried by more than 2.4 million trucks, the vast majority of this trade moved across a four-lane, 85-year old bridge.

Our Government is concerned about the reliability and vulnerability of this trade and the jobs it sustains in both of our counties.

So, to ensure fluidity and to prevent any disruption of trade and manufacturing production, we are building this important new Detroit-Windsor crossing.

Along with a new six-lane bridge, the project will include border inspection facilities in both Canada and the United States and an interchange connecting to Interstate-75 in Michigan.

A new bridge is needed for growing trade and traffic at the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing.

This project will create thousands of jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border. Over eight million American jobs and over two million Canadian jobs depend on trade and investment between our two countries.

It will also provide a much-needed crossing alternative at the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing and is expected to create 10,000 to 15,000 construction jobs in Ontario and Michigan.

We need dedicated people to make this project a reality, and, today, I am pleased to announce appointments of officers to two separate entities that will carry this important project forward.

First, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, the WDBA.  It is a new, not-for-profit Crown corporation which will report to the Parliament of Canada through me, the Minister of Transport.

The WDBA will essentially be the manager of the project office for all project components in Canada and the U.S. It is charged with preparing the sites and managing the procurement process to select the private sector partner who will carry out the actual design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new bridge.

The WDBA will oversee the work of the public-private partnership and will manage the concession agreement and payments.  The WDBA will also be responsible for setting and collecting all tolls.

The WDBA board is comprised of up to five members: a Chairperson, the Authority’s Chief Executive Officer and three Directors.

I am also pleased to announce today that our Government, along with the State of Michigan, has appointed members of a new Canada-Michigan International Authority – to oversee this project and the Crossing Agreement signed in 2012.

The International Authority is a joint Canada-Michigan body that will approve key steps in the P3 procurement process as well as the purchase of lands in Michigan needed for the project.

The International Authority consists of six members: two appointed by the Government of Canada, one appointed by the WDBA and three appointed by Michigan.

I would like to congratulate them all on their appointments as they are entrusted with one of the largest federally-funded infrastructure projects Canada has ever undertaken.

Ladies and gentlemen, this new crossing is of vital importance to the economic prosperity of communities and businesses on both sides of the border.

In the coming years, we expect it to create thousands of construction jobs in Ontario and Michigan.

And in the long term, we know it will be a critical link for our countries’ future trade partnership.

The Governments of Canada and the United States have a long history of cooperation.

We have built safe, secure, environmentally responsible and efficient transportation networks that support trade and investment on this continent and across the globe.

Pour des projets comme ce nouveau passage, la collaboration continuelle entre nos deux pays est essentielle pour faire de l’Amérique du Nord la région la plus concurrentielle et dynamique au monde.
(The ongoing collaboration of our two nations, on projects such as this new crossing, is key to making North America the most competitive and dynamic region in the world.)

Nous sommes impatients de poursuivre cette collaboration afin de faire progresser ce projet, de poursuivre nos objectifs communs et de bâtir ce pont de l’avenir.
(We look forward to continuing to work together to advance this project, to pursue our common goals together and to build this bridge to the future.)

Merci. Thank you.