In another blow to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s plan to sell Detroit’s half of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the City Council in Windsor, Ontario, last week instructed its top lawyer to halt negotiations after some Detroit council members said they still have doubts about the deal despite having voted in favor of establishing an operating authority.
Though the Canadian city said it was still in favor of the joint tunnel sale, its council members said Windsor could not continue paying consulting and legal fees to pursue the deal if the Detroit City Council expects to reject it.
Windsor is also worried about the deal being derailed amid the politically tense atmosphere in Detroit as the City Council prepares for public hearings in an attempt to force Kilpatrick from office as he awaits criminal trial on eight felony counts related to a city lawsuit and settlement last year.
After rejecting the tunnel plan three times, the Detroit City Council recently reversed itself and, on a 5-to-4 vote, approved a resolution that would allow the city to set up a separate authority to operate the tunnel. Despite the approval, several council members have said they continue to oppose the deal based on either a lack of financial clarity or concerns over selling valuable city assets.
The proposal calls for Detroit and Windsor to sell their half of the tunnel to two separate authorities that would jointly run the tunnel. Detroit would gain $75 million from the deal — $65 million of which would go to eliminate a current budget shortfall.
Deputy mayor Anthony Adams said the administration would prepare a document outlining the deal and ask the City Council for preliminary approval to reassure Windsor officials, according to the Detroit Free Press.