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The Ambassador Bridge spans the Detroit River dividing Canada and the U.S., is shown on Friday June 15, 2012. A long-awaited new bridge at Canada's busiest border crossing will ease traffic gridlock and encourage trade.Mark Spowart/The Canadian Press

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the Obama administration and Canada have agreed on financing for a key piece of a planned $2.1-billion bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

The department said Wednesday that the agreement involves funding for a toll plaza on the U.S. side of the international crossing.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow released a statement saying the agreement "is a critical step forward" for the project, long stymied by opposition from owners of the nearby Ambassador Bridge who seek to add a span of their own across the Detroit River.

Earlier talks involved the Canadian government paying for a $250-million customs plaza for the New International Trade Crossing. Homeland Security now says a "public-private partnership" will pay for the plaza's construction, with reimbursement from tolls.