The early organizational work for the planned new bridge between Detroit and Windsor appears to be speeding up.
In January, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, a nonprofit Canadian entity that is leading the bridge project, sought applicants to fill a range of staffing jobs in administration, communications, information technology, human resources, policy analysis, accounting and finance, engineering, operations and legal.
Michael Cautillo, president and CEO of the bridge authority, said more job postings would be published as operational needs are identified.
A Windsor recruitment firm has been retained to assist with the hiring process. Candidates interested in working with the project should apply online at thejobshoppe.com.
And just this past week, the bridge authority announced it had awarded a significant engineering contract worth $17 million to Parsons to serve as the general engineering consultant for the project, which is known by two names — the Detroit River International Crossing (the Canadian title) and the New International Trade Crossing (the title that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder prefers).
Much remains to be done, including land acquisition in Detroit’s Delray neighborhood and — perhaps the thorniest issue — resolving who will pay to build the U.S. Customs and Border Protection plaza on the Detroit end of the bridge. The U.S. government, which will operate the plaza, has so far balked at paying for it, a cost that could total somewhere in the $250-$300 million range depending on the scope.
Michigan voters tossed out Proposal 6 at the polls Tuesday. The controversial ballot measure would have amended the state constitution to restrict the state government’s ability to help build international bridges and tunnel crossings. According to the Detroit News, 61 percent of voters did not support the proposal and 31 voters voted for it, with 62 percent of precincts reporting at 1 a.m. Wednesday.
The measure would have required approval from a majority of voters in a statewide election and in every municipality where ‘new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles’ are to be located. The votes would have been needed to allow the State of Michigan spend state funds or resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing, or promoting new international bridges or tunnels. It would have would defined ‘new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles’ as ‘any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic as of January 1, 2012.’
The ballot measure was linked to an effort to construct a new bridge over the Detroit River connecting the U.S. and Canada, which is known as the New International Trade Crossing (NITC). Canada has agreed to pay $550 million for Michigan’s share of expenses for the construction of the estimated $2.1 billion bridge, as well as holding the state harmless if the tolls don’t cover the cost of the bridge.
That crossing has been supported by Gov. Snyder, but is opposed by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun. A committee that encouraged the adoption of Proposal 6, The People Should Decide, said that “The government bridge is not “free.” The state has already spent $41 million studying the issue, a new customs plaza will cost U.S. taxpayers (Michiganders included) $263 million, and traffic moving to the NITC will cost the state millions in lost tax and toll revenue at existing crossings” in a blog for The Huffington Post.