(Detroit) – Matty Moroun’s death grip on international trade in Detroit will be coming to an end soon, as Governor Snyder is expected to announce a deal to build a second bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor. As the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, Maroun has controlled the only international border crossing for trucks near the city of Detroit. As the owner of a trucking company, this has been a boon for Maroun since his trucks can cross for free, while everyone else has to pay the tolls.
This cozy arrangement is going to come to an end soon, as trucks will now be required to use the second bridge further south, since the City of Windsor wants to keep the big trucks out of downtown Windsor. Not only will Maroun lose out on the tolls, but he will also have to begin to pony up for his own trucks which will cost his trucking company more.
As anti-capitalist as it may sounds, residents of Detroit that are tired of looking at his abandoned train station and all his abandoned houses will be glad to see him finally have to play by the same rules as everyone else.
The official announcement is expected Friday, but enough has been leaked to know that the final remaining hurdles seem to have been jumped. The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to an appropriations bill to ensure that state taxpayer money not be used on the project. Snyder and his administration have indicated all along that no taxpayer money will be used. Canada is financing the whole project and they will recover money from Michigan’s portion of the cost from the tolls that will be collected.
“This is simply similar to past language and restrictions,” Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said today when asked about the amendment put forth by Rep. Dave Agema of Grandville. “We’ve been clear all along that Michigan taxpayers would not pay for this bridge. There has been no additional money added to or appropriated for the bridge in the new budget. And no MSF (Michigan Strategic Fund) funds would be used either. Period.”.
The project is expected to create thousands of jobs in Detroit and Windsor, and once finished will help facilitate international trade between the US and Canada which is expected to improve the economy. The second bridge is also important because it will provide a seamless connection from freeway to freeway unlike the Ambassador Bridge which has funneled truck traffic out on downtown streets for years causing traffic bottlenecks, pollution and road damage.
Governor Snyder had to get this done without the support of his party, as state Republicans have put language in the budget to prevent tax dollars form being used, and somewhat played obstructionist in the whole process thanks to political bribes by Matty Maroun. If nothing else, Governor Snyder should be applauded for finding a very creative solution to a longstanding problem.
The New International Trade Crossing (NITC) is also expected to get a better name, although officials say speculating on a new name is premature. That hasn’t stopped people on both sides of the border form making suggestions, the best of which so far seems to be the Gordie Howe Bridge, named after the Detroit Red Wing Hall of Famer, and Canadian citizen. That’s something both countries can probably agree on, although we’ll probably get stuck with some generic sounding name like the Embassy Bridge.