Slumping loonie could add $3.5B to cost of Windsor-Detroit bridge: documents

OTTAWA -- The federal Liberal government will need to find $3.5 billion more to pay for a new bridge at the bustling border crossing between Canada and the United States.

See Full Article

Documents show Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been warned that the cost of building the new Windsor-Detroit bridge has likely gone up by at least $2 billion, thanks to the declining value of the Canadian dollar.

Government officials told Trudeau the project would also need an extra $1.5 billion in a contingency fund to bear the shock of any interest rate increases should the loonie decline further against its American counterpart.

The government's long-term fiscal framework has the price of the bridge, to be named after hockey legend Gordie Howe, pegged at $4.8 billion.

The details are laid out in a secret briefing note to Trudeau obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

The Windsor-Detroit crossing is the busiest commercial trade crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Almost one quarter of all goods moving between the two countries pass over the existing bridge and through the tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor.

The long-sought new bridge built over the Detroit River spawned a hard-fought political battle among national, state, provincial and local politicians and the private owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge.

To make the project a reality, the Canadian government agreed last year to pay for all construction costs, including $250 million for the inspection plaza on the American side of the river, with a plan to recoup the costs through tolls.

The government expects to collect about $4 billion in tolls over 30 years -- more than enough, Trudeau was told, to cover the $2-billion cost increase that consultants from Deloitte calculated in October.

Otherwise, the documents said, the costs could only be recovered "before the end of the useful life of the bridge," adding in brackets, "100 years."

Three select companies will be given the opportunity in "early 2016" to bid on the construction work, said Mark Butler, a spokesman for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, the Crown corporation that is overseeing the project.

Butler didn't define "early 2016" and had yet to respond to followup questions after emailing a short statement to The Canadian Press.

The briefing note to Trudeau said the request for proposals needed to be out "at the latest" by the middle of last month in order for the bridge to open by December 2020.

The bridge authority needed to "demonstrate it had sufficient funds to support the project" before it could launch the RFP process, the document said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Jim Carr warns of softwood lumber job losses, says Canada standing by to help

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canada-U.S. relationship is bigger than any one trade irritant — and that both countries would suffer from a “thickening” border. Trudeau was responding to news that the U.S. Source
  • Bones found in badger hole in Idaho are remains of 2 children

    World News Toronto Sun
    BOISE, IDAHO - The fluke discovery of children’s bones protruding from a badger hole in Idaho has investigators trying to determine if they’re dealing with a double homicide or the disturbed grave of young 19th century emigrants who died going west on the Oregon Trail. Source
  • Timmies torpedoed in British invasion

    World News Toronto Sun
    Iconic Canadian coffee colossus Tim Hortons is being battered like a bag of day-olds on social media as it prepares to enter the British market. The company is opening its first store in Glasgow in May before rolling out stores across the rest of the country. Source
  • Don't take selfies on train tracks, U.S. railroad companies warn teens

    World News CTV News
    RALEIGH, N.C. -- Transportation officials and railroad companies are sounding a warning: Active railroad tracks are a bad backdrop for prom pictures or selfies. With the season for graduations and prom portraits underway, North Carolina's transportation and public school agencies this month are urging high school yearbook staff advisers to reject student photos taken on or near railroad tracks. Source
  • Facebook facing criticism after Thai man murders daughter live

    World News CBC News
    A Thai man filmed himself killing his 11-month-old daughter live and then posted two video clips on Facebook before committing suicide, police said on Tuesday. People could access the videos of the child's murder on her father's Facebook page for roughly 24 hours, until they were taken down around 5 p.m. Source
  • Netflix strikes licensing deal in China

    World News CBC News
    Netflix is making its first big inroads in China through a licensing agreement with local streaming giant iQiyi. The company confirmed the deal to CBC News. It will allow Netflix's original shows to be available in China shortly after the content debuts on Netflix in other regions, Variety reports. Source
  • Former Trump aide Flynn may have broken law, lawmakers say

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to break U.S. law when he failed to seek permission or inform the government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015, leaders of a House committee investigating possible Russian ties with the Trump campaign said Tuesday. Source
  • Torrents of juice flood Russian town after factory accident

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW - A flash flood of fruit juice from a beverage plant in southern Russia has flowed into a town's streets and into the River Don. The Prosecutor's Office in the Lipetsk region said in a statement that the roof of PepsiCo's Lebedyansky factory collapsed Tuesday morning, injuring two people. Source
  • Toronto man faces manslaughter charge in death of 90-year-old hospital resident

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police have laid a manslaughter charge against a man accused of attacking a 90-year-old resident at a Toronto hospital. Investigators say the incident took place in February, when a man at Bridgepoint Health pushed another resident, who fell to the floor and struck her head. Source
  • Bidding tops $125K for Maud Lewis painting found in thrift shop

    Canada News CBC News
    The auction for a Maud Lewis painting found in a New Hamburg thrift shop is less than a week old, but with 26 bids recorded, it's already reached $125,208. The painting, entitled Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fisherman, Bay View, N.S. Source