The U.S. Department of Transportation this week granted the Michigan Strategic Fund a two-month extension to approve $787 million in private-activity bonds on behalf of a company planning to build a bridge spanning the busy trade route between Detroit and Canada.
The extension follows the strategic fund’s decision on Feb. 25 to postpone its vote on whether to act as a conduit issuer for the Detroit International Bridge Co., which plans to build a $1 billion, six-lane span to replace the aging Ambassador Bridge.
The postponement was part of an ongoing debate over two separate proposals to build international bridges just a few miles from each other on the Detroit River.
Even as Detroit International Bridge is moving forward with its plan — with or without the PABs, according to the company — the governments of Michigan, the U.S., Ontario, and Canada are pursuing their own plan to build a $1.8 billion, mostly publicly funded bridge that would be one mile downriver.
Despite opposition from state government officials, the company remains hopeful the fund’s board will grant its bond request.
“We are optimistic that the Michigan Strategic Fund will approve the private-activity bonds given the opportunity for the enhancement project and our billion-dollar private investment to be a stimulus for the local economy,” Dan Stamper, president of the Ambassador Bridge, said in a statement.