LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan has won approval from the Obama administration to build a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
A presidential permit awarded Friday by the U.S. Department of State allows Michigan and Canada to move forward with their span over the Detroit River. Construction could be finished in seven years, though lawsuits challenging the project have been filed by owners of the current border bridge.
The key permit comes 10 months after Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper struck a deal by which Canada will pay for the bridge and five months after Michigan voters rejected an attempt by Ambassador Bridge owners to slow down or halt construction.
The State Department says granting the permit will "serve the national interest."
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is lauding the U.S. government's approval of a new bridge from Detroit to Canada.
He said in a Friday statement that the crossing will create jobs and get Michigan-made products to market more quickly. He plans to discuss the infrastructure project at a Detroit business in the afternoon.
The Republican governor is a key backer of the bridge and last year struck his own deal with Canada after running into opposition in the GOP-led Legislature. Canada will pay Michigan's costs for the bridge, including for an interchange linking the span to Interstate 75 on the American side. Construction of the bridge itself will be repaid by Canada through tolls.
A lawsuit challenging the project has been filed by owners of the current Ambassador Bridge.