A battle over competing international bridge plans in Michigan that has roiled the Legislature for years could find resolution with a public vote later this year.

The owners of the privately owned Ambassador Bridge said last week that they are supporting a ballot initiative that would require voters to approve any state-sponsored plan to build a new bridge or tunnel to Canada.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian officials want to enter into a public-private partnership to construct a new jointly owned bridge spanning the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor, carrying a price tag of around $4 billion.

Tentative finance plans feature revenue bonds that would finance about $1.5 billion of Michigan’s cost of the project. The debt would be backed either solely by toll revenue or by Canada’s pledge, but not by Michigan.

The span would be built two miles from the Ambassador Bridge, which is currently the only bridge between the cities, though there is also a tunnel.

Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Maroun is opposed to the public project and has spent years fighting it. Supporters of the ballot referendum have submitted proposed petition language to the State Board of Canvassers. They would then have to collect more than 300,000 signatures to get it on the ballot. 

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