The Michigan Department of Transportation last week put out a request for proposals seeking construction bids from companies interested in work on a new, $1.8 billion, bond-financed bridge across the Detroit River. The deadline for responses is March 17.
MDOT director Kirk Steudle said the state hopes to have a public-private partnership on the bridge. Tax-exempt bonds financing the project would be backed with toll revenue.
“At this point, we are considering a model that would incorporate some participation by the private sector in financing, design, construction, engineering and maintenance,” Steudle said in a statement. “Although we have not yet finalized what that model will eventually look like, we know there are a number of teams out there eagerly anticipating the start of work on this historic project.”
The Detroit River International Crossing Project would build a second, public bridge to cross between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, the busiest trade route in the nation. It is a joint effort of the U.S. government, Canada, Michigan, and Windsor. It’s been the focus of years of debate, as the private company that runs the existing Ambassador Bridge is developing a replacement bridge just a few miles upriver from the proposed site of the DRIC bridge.
Detroit businessman Manuel Maroun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge and is moving forward with plans to build a replacement span, has sued Michigan and the U.S. government over their plans, saying their bridge would pose unfair competition to his privately operated company.