Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.


Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.



Think Regional/Act Local

Progress – at least on one front

(Freight, Transportation) Permanent link


February 23, 2015 – Let’s take a week off from all of the talk of no additional funding and the merits of Prop 1 and talk about a project that continues to inch forward – the New International Trade Crossing. Interestingly, the project continues to move forward only because the Canadian government continues to fund the project. The Canadian government has agreed to pay the $250 million cost for the inspection plaza in Detroit under a deal agreed to by both countries. 


The Canadians had hoped the U.S. would pay for construction of its own customs plaza, but that will not happen under the newly signed agreement. Canada, along with a private-sector partner soon to be selected by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, will now be paying the project’s full construction costs.


Taxpayers will not be on the hook for any of the costs. Under the agreement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has agreed to cover all U.S. customs staffing costs for the new bridge, but the cost of the plaza construction will be recouped in the years ahead through tolls and other sources such as duty-free goods and gas.


The project’s next steps include ramping up property acquisition in Detroit to make room for the new bridge plaza and a feeder road in Delray that will link to the I-75 freeway. A new border highway in Windsor to link with the bridge is expected to be fully open to traffic by the end of this year.


Isn’t it ironic that one of the most important projects in our state and our region is moving forward with little or no funding from Michigan or the U.S.? It is amazing what can get done when you have a vision, a plan, and requisite funding to implement a plan. We can all learn something from the Canadian approach to this project.


Image: State of Michigan Presidential Permit Application (http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/194997.pdf)



Carmine Palombo
If you want to know what about anything related to transportation in Southeast Michigan, don’t miss Carmine Palombo's blog. Carmine has more than 30 years of experience in various phases of transportation planning at SEMCOG. He is responsible for administering SEMCOG’s transportation planning program, which includes the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-term transportation plan.

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