Community benefits program announced for Gordie Howe Bridge

gordie how
Rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge | Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority photo

The Gordie Howe International Bridge will include a substantial community benefits program, according to a Friday announcement by the public and private team responsible for its construction.

Garlin Gilchrist | Casey Hull

The benefit plan financed by Canada includes job training and apprenticeships, employment opportunities and a roughly $15 million investment in landscaping, community partnerships, safety and economic benefits, according to a press release from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist on Friday attended a press conference with Canadian officials in Windsor announcing the benefits just one day after the GOP-controlled Michigan House approved a transportation budget that backed down on a plan to effectively block the bridge.

GOP backs down on Gordie Howe Bridge, House springs transportation budget

The community benefits plan includes selfie observation decks and new bicycle racks.

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge is yet another historic example of what we can accomplish when we work together to find a solution that benefits everyone,” Whitmer said in a statement Friday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Mackinac Policy Conference, May 29, 2019 | Andrew Roth

“We all know that the communities on each side of the border will be a strong anchor point for this project, which is why this announcement today to invest in these areas is so critical,” she continued. “This is a real opportunity to create thousands and thousands of jobs and strengthen our economic ties with our neighbors to drive growth in the surrounding communities for generations to come.”

Along with the community benefits plan, Whitmer said the bridge is expected to improve the flow of traffic and commercial goods, as well as bringing in 2,500 jobs in support of the project.

“This marks a critical milestone in a long journey for the Delray and Southwest Detroit communities,” said state Senate Minority Floor Leader Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) in a statement. “For more than a decade and a half, residents and community leaders have been advocating for quality of life protections and enhancements near the bridge; many have made significant sacrifices to make way for this development.”

Sen. Stephanie Chang, April 17, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

Chang said the the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has committed to home repair funding for residents of Delray, support for Delray community organizations and Southwest Detroit residents, workforce training programs and a grant program for other community initiatives.

The Democratic state senator called it “an important testament to the tenacity and perseverance of residents in my district, as well as the strong relationship we have developed over the years with the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and the State of Michigan.”

Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper.

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