May 25, 2010

Morouns tell different tales in different states on new bridge crossings

The Michigan is House is expected to take up House Bill 4961 today 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 over the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor and create and save thousands of Michigan jobs.

Apparently, there were not enough votes last Thursday after serious lobbying by representatives and employees of the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) and Grosse Pointe billionaire and Republican benefactor Matty Moroun, and they used every bit of misinformation and outright lies as they could muster to delay the bill and keep their monopoly.

All of that misinformation put out by the bridge company has been debunked, but that has not stopped the lobbying effort. In fact, Moroun and company has even debunked and contradicted themselves. Chris Vander Doelen had a story in The Windsor Star last week where Moroun is saying one thing in Michigan and another thing in New York.

The publicized owned and operated the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River - the Ambassador is the only privately owned auto/truck border crossing in the United States - is in bad shape and needs a new crossing. The Moroun family is involved in that debate, too, and Vander Doelen says “The debate is almost identical in the two cities except for this fascinating fact: the Morouns and their companies play opposite roles in the two cities.”

“In Windsor, the Morouns argue we don't need a second bridge because traffic is down sharply. They warn against believing foolish government projections that NAFTA will lead to future traffic growth. It won't ever come back, they claim.

“Down in Fort Erie, they say the opposite. The Peace Bridge carries half the traffic Windsor-Detroit does. But the Morouns claim there is plenty of traffic down there to support another crossing -- even though the region already boasts four international crossings with a total of 14 lanes to Windsor's total of six.”

The DRIC Bridge has all the necessary permits and in ready to go, and it will mean 10,000 Michigan jobs. Call your State Representative and tell him to stop carrying water for the Morouns. But, Vander Doelen said it best with the conclusion of his article:

“Let's hope the Michigan Republicans who continue to block the DRIC bridge know this. They might not be so eager to block our new crossing if they knew the Morouns were telling different tales in different states.”

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