Canada stepped up this month and pledged to make all availability payments needed to finance the Cdn$3.5-billion DRIC border crossing from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, Michigan. The $950-million bridge component would be built under a long-term availability pay concession with two-way tolls collected on the Canadian side only.
The 86-year-old Ambassador Bridge is owned by the very wealthy owner of a Detroit trucking conglomerate who opposes the DRIC bridge, and has the money to under-cut almost any toll price set for the public project. Much of his profit comes from duty-free shops, not bridge tolls. For that reason, one of the sponsors of the Windsor-Essex concession says DRIC won’t be a real project until Canada agrees to fund the bridge availability payments even if toll revenues are zero.