LANSING — On Wednesday, Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that the Canadian government has approved a permit needed by the Detroit International Bridge Company to build a new span next to the Ambassador Bridge. In response, state Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) issued the following statement:

“Southwest Detroiters and Windsor residents have continuously advocated for public health protections and environmental mitigations for any international bridge, whether it be a new Ambassador Bridge or the new publicly owned Gordie Howe International Bridge. It is important that these considerations on both sides of the river be addressed. Residents on both sides of the river must be engaged by the company in the process of developing measures for local community impact mitigation and environmental protections, both listed as conditions of the application approval by the Canadian government. We continue to be disappointed that there was never a full Environmental Impact Study, only an Environmental Assessment. We need the strongest protections possible to ensure residents' health and quality of life are not jeopardized.

“The approval by Transport Canada of the Ambassador Bridge project includes the condition that the existing Ambassador Bridge be demolished, to ensure that the bridge yet to be built will be a replacement span, not a twin span.  Residents already experience significant air pollution from existing international truck traffic on the current bridge and industrial sources in Southwest Detroit and the surrounding area. We hope that residents will be engaged in the process of ensuring the strongest public health protections for the demolition process and a guarantee that it not be used for vehicular traffic if demolition is removed as a condition of the permit.

“The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has not yet approved the land conversion for Riverside Park. Possession of this land is necessary before the bridge company can build the new span. I will continue to work with residents regarding Riverside Park to ensure that the community's voice is heard."