OUR VIEW: The bridge and the billionaire
There’s a $2 billion dollar bridge in the balance as the battle continues between Gov. Rick Snyder and Matty Moroun, owner of the Ambassador Bridge, the current span linking Detroit and Windsor, Ont.
The International Trade Crossing, a proposed new bridge between Michigan and Canada, has created a windfall for quite a few folks even though construction of the span is not yet certain. Moroun has spent upward of $15 million on television ads trying to convince Michigan citizens that a new bridge is a bad idea. Nearly three quarters of a million dollars have landed in the pockets of Michigan legislators to help them understand that a new bridge is not needed.
Still another tactic in this all-out assault against the new bridge is a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban international bridges or tunnels (and could conceivably ban all bridges or tunnels) from being built without a vote of the people. This effort, as well, is financed by the Moroun interests.
We understand that this is big business and the Morouns should not be expected to welcome a new competitor. But apparently Canadians need a better route through Windsor and they prefer to do business with Michigan.
The new International Trade Crossing would be paid for by the Canadian government. The bridge would ostensibly cost Michigan nothing, with bridge tolls eventually covering the bill. The project would also qualify Michigan for $2 billion in badly needed matching federal highway dollars to rebuild Michigan’s roads.
We would not be “buying a bridge” … we’d be creating thousands of construction jobs over many years and establishing southeast Michigan as a major freight transportation hub connecting this state, its industries and products and the rest of the Midwest with America’s largest trading partner.
Opportunity knocks. We need the imagination and courage to move ahead toward a rebirth of Michigan’s industrial and trade potential with transportation logistics that benefit both nations.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.