It appears Ambassador Bridge owner and GOP sugar daddy Manuel "Matty" Moroun won round one on Tuesday when House Bill 4961 that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada to build the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge failed to be discharged from committee to the Senate floor fro an up or down vote.
Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, has been championing the effort to build the new DRIC bridge to replace and expand the aging Ambassador Bridge, but the discharge motion was withdrawn when it appears he did not have the necessary 19 votes to bring it to the floor for an up or down vote.
“The reason this issue should be discharged is this is probably one of the most single most issues we can deal with in this state to No. 1, create jobs; No. 2, protect this state and this country with homeland security; No. 3, to be able to have some redundancy when it comes to infrastructure crossing our international borders,” Basham said. “There our 26 international border crossings in this country and 24 of them are publicly-owned; the busiest border crossing in this country happens to be in Michigan, and it is privately-owned.”
Basham knows it is a long shot, but he aid he still plans to try again on Wednesday or on the last day of the lame duck on Thursday. There are 10,000 to 35,000 jobs at stake.
The discharge vote has crated massive media interest in Canada, and if the DRIC bridge is not built, no bridge will be built because the Canadians will never give Moroun a permit to land it in Canada because they do not want a multi-lane bridge with heavy trucks empting into downtown Windsor.
“This is a jobs issue, a commerce issue, an issue of trade between Michigan and its largest trading partner, Canada,” Basham said. “This is an issue that has to be dealt with it. It has to be dealt with sooner than later.”
The DRIC study began a decade ago in 2000, but the Moroun financed GOP Senate caucus still wants to delay and kill it so Moroun can keep his monopoly. There were some rumors that Governor-elect Rick Snyder may have had something to do with the decision to ask for a postponement of the vote on Tuesday, but Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, - who reneged on a promise to being the bill to a vote back in May – denied that.
"Rick Snyder has been very clear to me that he does not wish to intrude upon this Legislature," Bishop said in subscription only Gongwer.
That’s simply not true, and he was in the Capitol yesterday, and he weighed in on funding the Pure Michigan campaign and the autism bills.