FONSI and Bridge History
Don't you find the "partnership" language remarkable as well. We already have a "P3" deal don't we yet someone in Government has decided that Governments should have a different private partner. I guess the Bridge Co. being the #1 border operator is not good enough for some bureaucrats.
Interestingly as well, the US Government signed a "FONSI" on the project ie a report indicating that a proposed project is environmentally safe. I wonder how the Government can justify today saying that replacing one older bridge with another is a problem especially when the same plaza is being used.
This whole file is becoming curiouser and curiouser the more one discovers. You are welcome to join with my conspiracy theory that this is all directed to force the Bridge Co. to sell out.
- MDOT CLEARS THE AIR REGARDING GATEWAY PROJECT
December 5, 1997
Statewide Media Reports Misrepresent Facts in Story About Ambassador Bridge
LANSING-Recent media reports about the Detroit International Bridge Company's Ambassador Bridge, the Gateway Project and access between Michigan's highway system and the bridge contain inaccuracies and do not reflect either current project plans or funding issues. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT ) is working diligently to ensure clear and concise understanding of the issue.
On October 23, 1997, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the $100 million Gateway Project, providing approval to move the project to the design stage. Project objectives are threefold: to improve direct access between the Ambassador Bridge and Michigan's highway system, to accommodate future border crossing capacity needs and to accommodate access to a proposed private Travel Information Center/Retail Complex.
"The opportunity for FHWA and M•DOT to partner with the privately-owned Ambassador Bridge for these access improvements is one step closer to reality with the FONSI agreement," said State Transportation Director Jim DeSana. "This project is an ambitious and creative partnership between the federal government, M•DOT and the privately-owned Ambassador Bridge. We need changes in federal transportation law, which we expect in the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), to allow for federal participation in the access improvements," he continued.
Under current federal law, public funds may not to be used to connect highways to a privately-owned bridge, like the Ambassador Bridge. Michigan transportation officials are working with federal legislators to ensure the new version of ISTEA, when enacted, allows for the potential for funding access improvements of this type.
Any improvements to the actual bridge, or a potential second span of the Ambassador Bridge, would be entirely the financial responsibility of the Detroit International Bridge Company and no public funds would be spent on the bridge itself.
"We will not fund improvements to the actual Ambassador Bridge structure or any potential second span," stated DeSana. If the Detroit International Bridge Company decides they want to build a second span, that's their decision and financial responsibility," DeSana concluded.
The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America, carrying more than 10 million vehicles. Direct access between Michigan's highway system and the bridge will facilitate international trade for the state of Michigan, the Midwest, including Chicago and St. Louis, and the entire U.S. via the interstate corridors of I-94, I-96, I-69 and I-75.