Michigan and Canadian leaders, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, were in Windsor Friday to celebrate the start of construction on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.
The Canadian government sees the new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario as a key national infrastructure project. Trudeau called it a “vital 2.5 km artery that will connect Windsor and Detroit and allow for an increased flow of people and goods between Canada and the United States.”
Trudeau said that’s especially true after this week, when Canada, the U.S. and Mexico tentatively reached a revised free-trade agreement to replace NAFTA, now called USMCA.
“I’m confident that integrated, two-way trade between Windsor and Detroit will only increase from here, which is a great thing for local communities and the national economy,” Trudeau said.
“My friends, this is a terrific day for the people of Canada. We’re bringing good jobs to southern Ontario, and making our trade networks better than ever before.”
When asked about any potential hold-ups related to ongoing opposition from the owners of the competing Ambassador Bridge, Trudeau downplayed the possibility.
“Quite frankly, we were talking with the governor [Snyder] about the possibilities of actually accelerating the timelines for this bridge, and that’s very much how we’re focused on getting this done. As quickly as we can,” Trudeau said.
The current timeline calls for the bridge to open to traffic in late 2024.
Trudeau thanked Snyder, a longtime ardent supporter of the bridge project, for his support. Snyder went around the state legislature to make a bridge deal with Canada in 2012.
Snyder, in turn, thanked the Canadian government for paying for the bridge project “at a time when we didn’t have the resources to do a project like this.” Michigan will jointly own the bridge with Canada.
And while Snyder also hailed the movement toward a new free-trade agreement, he apologized for what he called with respect to the tone of agreement, and the tone of America today.”
“The greatest challenge in America today is not foreign issues, it’s us being nice to ourselves. We need to overcome that, and that will take time,” Snyder said. “In the meantime, hopefully our friends will bear with us as we go through that exercise.”