May 19, 2010

Ambassador Bridge company lobbyists busy spreading lies and misinformation as vote approaches

LANSING - Word in the Capitol is that House Bill 4961 that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada and a private sector developer/financier to build the much needed Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge between Detroit and Windsor and create and save thousands of Michigan jobs will be taken up by the House soon, and representatives of the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) and Grosse Pointe billionaire and Republican benefactor Matty Moroun have been lobbying hard and spreading misinformation.

One such lie is that the Bridge Company “were only days away from obtaining Canadian approval of the DIBC environmental permits for the second span of the Ambassador Bridge.” In fact, in an April 28 interview with subscription only MIRS News, DIBC President Dan Stamper claimed the Ambassador Bridge company “is close to final Canadian approval of plans to build a second span to replace the now 81-year-old original span. They expect a determination by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the coming days that the existing plaza will serve the needs of the bridge for the next 25 years and that once that happens, the Canadian government will release its environmental permit.”

Not true.

Canadian Transport Minister John Baird was the guest speaker at a luncheon at the Detroit Economic Club on May 17, and he debunked that claim.

“The Morouns have not submitted any applications to build their bridge,“ Baird said. “They have not begun to meet environmental approvals. The Morouns have not even started to prepare to begin to do anything at all about building their new bridge.

“On a scale of 1 to 100, they are at a zero,” he said. “They have no approvals in place. They were talking about the twin span 20 years ago. It takes years to get all the environmental approvals you need in Canada.”

That’s in sharp contrast to DRIC, which has obtained all permits and approvals on both sides of the border, except the Presidential Permit, which cannot be applied for until the Michigan legislature approves the DRIC.

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