October 5, 2018 by Jillian Morgan
WINDSOR, Ont.—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hoping to speed up the six-year timeline to construct the long-awaited Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Trudeau was in Windsor, Ont. Oct. 5 with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne, among others, to mark the start of construction on the $5.7 billion span.
The event was held a week after the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) announced the final price tag and timeline for the project. Slated for completion in 2024, the bridge will connect Windsor and Detroit, Mich.
Trudeau dodged a question on whether a project to twin the Ambassador Bridge — an 88-year-old span connecting Windsor and Detriot — would delay construction on the Gordie Howe bridge, adding that he discussed “possibilities of accelerating the timelines” for the new crossing with Snyder.
The company that controls the Ambassador Bridge has been battling the erection of the Gordie Howe bridge since the outset of the project, even releasing a 60-second television commercial in June calling on President Donald Trump to step in and halt construction.
“I know there are conversations ongoing about the existing bridge but really this is a day where we can focus on the future of the trade between Canada and the United States between this extraordinary crossing,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister also fielded questions about the newly minted USMCA agreement and of ongoing, hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Trudeau said he has a “constructive, positive” relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, and is focused on moving forward with the trade agreement — adding that he plans to continue to work on reducing the tariffs.
“I’m confident that integrated, two-way trade between Detroit and Windsor will only increase from here,” Trudeau said. “This is a terrific day for the people of Canada.”
Snyder thanked the Government of Canada for providing the capital for the project, adding that he appreciates the “patience and understanding of Canada” amid tense negotiations and heated rhetoric from Trump during NAFTA negotiations.
“You came to our aid when we didn’t have the resources to do a project like this,” Snyder said. “When I give a speech in our state today, I always speak to the topic of civility and currently, we have a lack of that in our country… The pendulum will swing back at some point.”