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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”