Jul 15, 2008
Cropsey threatens blackmail to kill DRIC study and keep monopoly for billionaire GOP backer
The Detroit-Windsor border crossing near Zug Island proposed by the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study is holding up the Michigan Transportation budget, and the conference committee report to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget is not on the agenda for the Senate session on Thursday.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants the bridge to be built in the Delray section of Detroit, and last month the Canadian government announced the Canadian crossing will be in the Brighton Beach section in west-end Windsor, adjacent to Delray. The new crossing would alleviate frequent traffic jams and long delays on the Ambassador Bridge and through the Windsor-Detroit tunnel caused by the 17 traffic lights semi-trucks must go through in downtown Windsor to reach the highway. The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commercial border crossing in all of North America.
The aging Ambassador Bridge is only one of two international border crossings in the country in private hands, and it is owned by Grosse Pointe transportation billionaire Matty Moroun. In order to keep his monopoly, Moroun is planning to build a span right next to the current bridge, despite a Canadian law that says an international crossing cannot be in private hands.
Moroun’s money has gained him some powerful friends, such as Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, who is on the conference committee for the Transportation budget bill, House Bill 5805.
Subscription only Gongwers reported Cropsey is using blackmail to keep Moroun’s monopoly intact.
“Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt) said he is taking the Senate's lead on negotiating on DRIC. And he furiously said there will be little negotiating unless the House adopts a resolution about DRIC that is sent to Congress and Governor Jennifer Granholm write a letter supporting a second Ambassador span.”
This piece of blackmail is dispute the fact that the second Ambassador will not get a permit from the Canadians. Then we get this ridiculous quote from Cropsey.
“Mr. Cropsey was also furious at the "bullying" of Canada. "Where does Canada get off saying they don't want that bridge? Canada needs to be a good neighbor," he said.
Kettle, meet pot.
Gongwer also said, “Senate Republicans strongly support a plan by the Ambassador Bridge Company to build a second span adjacent to the current nearly 80-year old bridge,” as well as noting, “The Ambassador Bridge company is owned by Matty Maroun who is also a major financial backer of the Republican Party.” That, my friends, is the reason for the standoff.
This news comes on the heels of news of support for the MDOT and Canadian crossing decision by prominent Republican L. Brooks Patterson.
If the Legislature refuses to give the department the authority to move on the proposal, then MDOT has to stop its end of the work, and Michigan could be on the hook to pay back some of the federal grant. There is also a possibility the federal government could continue with the process.