Unions back plan for new public bridge

Unions on both sides of the border support a new publicly owned international bridge and are surprised that UAW President Bob King might not.

“I am shocked,” said Canadian Auto Workers President Ken Lewenza, who was planning to call King on Friday for clarification. “Until I talk to Bob, I won’t believe it.”

Lewenza said the New International Trade Crossing “is the most significant infrastructure project in Canadian history. The CAW supports the bridge.”

Mike Jackson, executive secretary-treasurer of the 14,000-member Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, said Friday the new bridge “seemed like a no-brainer to us” and would put many of its members back to work.

“We believe it’s a game-changer, we really do,” he said.

King was expected to return from South Korea on Friday. But the UAW provided no updates on its stand as of Friday evening.

Lewenza and Jackson are among those who reacted to media reports Friday that the UAW and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun have discussed a deal that would have the billionaire donate to the Proposal 2 campaign, a labor-sponsored ballot initiative, in exchange for the UAW’s support for Proposal 6, which is designed to scuttle Gov. Rick Snyder’s plans for a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

Proposal 6 would require a statewide vote for Michigan to spend money on international crossings. And Proposal 2 would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.

The People Should Decide, the Moroun-backed group pushing Proposal 6, said reports of an alliance were nothing but “rumors and speculation.” The statement from Mickey Blashfield, Moroun’s director of governmental affairs, did not deny the reports.

The UAW has not taken an official position on Proposal 6.

It’s unclear how much money would go into backing the UAW effort, how it would be spent or how effective UAW higher-ups could be in delivering votes for Moroun’s Proposal 6, if a deal was consummated.

Many key labor groups on both sides of the border support the proposed new public bridge because it could create up to 10,000 construction jobs.

The bridge’s labor supporters include the Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, Canadian Auto Workers, Utility Workers Union of America Local 223, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 and Canadian Teamsters Local 879.

Jackson said Friday he had not spoken to King, but said the possibility of a UAW deal with Moroun was perplexing.

One contentious issue for the labor community has been where workers and materials will come from for the massive international project that would span two countries.

Some union activists have grumbled that Snyder approved a waiver allowing the bridge to be built with steel from Canada and the U.S. But Jackson said the carpenters group supports the measure.

“I think it’s fair,” he said. “I mean, Canada is putting up the initial money. I think it’s a little ridiculous to expect Canada to pay for it but not be able to use any Canadian steel.”

On the Canadian side, the CAW and the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, a group of automakers, suppliers, unions, academics and politicians, have said the countries should use domestic content, employees and businesses.

Lewenza said bidding for contracts always creates controversy, but the bounty of work should be shared and balanced.

“The two sides should have a shared opportunity to supply steel and labor as part of the stimulus even though the Canadian government is fronting all the money,” Lewenza said. The Detroit Three automakers along with many major Michigan companies, including Meijer and Kellogg, also back the new bridge because it’s expected to make it easier to ship parts across the border.

Chrysler moves more than 1,300 parts shipments, 2,000 cars and trucks and logs more than 1,600 customs entries daily.

Billed as an enabler of future economic growth, the new bridge would offer direct freeway-to-freeway connections on both sides of the border.

That would eliminate massive traffic jams in Windsor along a stretch of many traffic lights between the Ambassador Bridge and Canada’s 401 highway.

Ford’s strong support of a new border crossing is unchanged, said spokesman Todd Nissen. The automaker opposes Proposal 6 and is neutral on Proposal 2.

“GM supports a New International Trade Crossing spanning the Detroit River,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said in a statement. “This initiative is necessary to ensure the region’s ongoing competitiveness and quick, reliable and cost-effective transportation.

Moroun family lies

The judge’s jailing order was hardly capricious or unexpected

By Curt Guyette

If you want to understand what the Moroun family values are, look no further than the statement issued by Matthew Moroun when his billionaire father, Manuel “Matty” Moroun, was jailed last week.

“Without a trial, without a jury, with no notice stating the reasons for them to appear, a judge viciously lashed out at Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper today and ordered a penalty outside the bounds of a civil case that was excessive, unwarranted and outrageous,” Moroun the younger declared.

And what can we take from that statement? Simply this: You cannot believe a word that comes from the mouths of these people.

Now, if you were to take Matthew Moroun’s statement at face value, you would believe that, out of nowhere, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentis Edwards, on a sudden and inexplicable whim, ordered the elder Moroun and Detroit International Bridge Co. President Stamper into court and then, without provocation or forewarning, had them hauled away to the hoosegow.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The jailing of Moroun has been a long time coming, and the stable of lawyers working on behalf of him and his company had ample time to prepare a defense for their client.

How do we know this? Because, as they like to say in court, there is documented evidence showing what is true, and what is not.

And the truth in this instance is that, on Nov. 3, 2011, Edwards issued an opinion and order saying, in effect, that the people calling the shots for the Detroit International Bridge Co. — which owns the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor — had spent the past two years willfully violating an explicit court order.

That order involves the bridge company’s share of the $230 million Gateway Project, a public-private venture the DIBC and Michigan Department of Transportation entered into back in April 2004.

The goal of the project, which was partly funded with federal dollars, was to improve freeway connections to the Ambassador Bridge. The people of southwest Detroit supported the project because part of the deal included the construction of a roadway that would keep bridge truck traffic off local surface streets.

According to the contract signed with the state, it fell on the DIBC to construct that part of the project. The problem is that the company unilaterally changed the plan. In part, it constructed a towering approach ramp to a hoped-for new bridge — a bridge, we should point out, that has received approval from neither the United States nor Canadian governments. And that ramp to nowhere, referred to in court documents as Pier 19, stands in the way of the roadway the bridge company is contractually obligated to build.

There’s also the matter of a lucrative duty-free shop and diesel pumps that are also in conflict with the original design. There’s another problem as well: At least some of that construction covers a section of 23rd Street, and the city of Detroit never gave the company legal authority to commandeer that public right of way. (That matter, too, is the subject of a separate long-running court battle.)

So, instead of being completed by 2008 as was originally planned, the project has been tied up in court for nearly three years.

In June 2009, MDOT sued the bridge company, asking that it complete its share of the project. The company since then has been arguing that there is no actual concrete plan showing exactly what it is that it’s contractually obligated to do.

In February 2010, Edwards rejected that argument, telling the company that it’s clear what its share of the project is, and that it had to do the job.

After a year of inaction on the part of the company, Edwards sent what should have been a clear message that he wasn’t fooling around with this and ordered Stamper to jail.

The company responded by immediately beginning some cosmetic work that made it appear that it was finally willing to abide by the court’s order, and Stamper was released after a few hours.

Then, according to MDOT, the company went back to ignoring the court’s order to complete the project as agreed to.

And so, in November, Edwards’ patience — which through hearing after repetitious hearing appeared to News Hits to be nothing short of remarkable — finally reached a breaking point.

We offer this detailed history so that people understand Matthew Moroun’s claim that Edwards somehow caught his father off guard, and that due process was wrongfully denied, is a lie that’s so outrageous that it is both laughable and contemptible.

In his Nov. 3 decision ordering Stamper and Moroun to appear in court last week, Edwards points out that in civil cases such as this, when one of the parties refuses to abide by the court’s order, “imprisonment may be imposed” until the order is carried out, or those in prison are no longer in a position to see that it is adhered to.

That, by the way, is why both Matty and Stamper hastily submitted resignations from the DIBC’s board of directors. It was a bit of flimflam that Edwards didn’t swallow.

What can be lost in all this are the human consequences found in the bridge company’s adamant refusal to abide by the contract it signed, instead looking out for its own financial well-being.

When the people of southwest Detroit agreed to support the Gateway Project, it wasn’t because they relished the idea of a massive new truck plaza in their back yard. Instead, they said, they were willing to accept that in return for the promise that thousands of trucks rolling down their streets, and making their lives miserable, would be removed as a daily nuisance.

That is why some people sitting in the courtroom applauded when Edwards said Moroun and Stamper would be going to jail.

Or at least part of the reason.

Because the frustration experienced by the residents of southwest Detroit isn’t due just to the Gateway Project fiasco. It is born of decades of dealing with a company that repeatedly acts as if it were above the law and beholden to nothing but its own bottom line.

That is why a group of area residents took the law into their own hands and tore down a fence the bridge company had illegally erected in Riverside Park, commandeering a piece of public property that it wanted to use in order to build that hoped-for second bridge.

Although one judge had already ruled that the company was obligated to remove the fence, the DIBC did what it is so adept at: it stalled by tying the matter up in yet another court.

The same sort of anger and frustration were on display late last year when area residents, joined by supporters of the Occupy movement, marched en masse on the Ambassador, briefly shutting it down.

That’s what happens when government and the courts don’t enforce the law. Denied justice, people will take it upon themselves to set things right.

It is difficult to imagine a family more politically powerful than the Morouns. Single-handedly, they were able to buy off enough of the state Legislature to forestall approval of a publicly owned bridge that would threaten the virtual monopoly they now enjoy.

It takes real guts to stare that sort of power in the face, and then put it in its rightful place. And in this case, that place should be behind bars, because Moroun and Stamper are the public face of an outlaw company.

The pair has won a reprieve, with a three-member panel of the state Court of Appeals ordering the two men released pending their appeal of Edwards’ order.

After Edwards decided that jail was needed to “coerce” Moroun and Stamper into making sure the DIBC fulfills its obligation to complete the Gateway Project as designed, more than a few people pointed to the jailing of a billionaire as proof that no one is above the law, no matter how wealthy and powerful they might be.

But with the two men gaining their release after spending just one night behind bars — having chowed down on a specially catered meal provided by the swank Detroit Athletic Club instead of the standard jail fare — we remain skeptical.

This much is clear, though: When it comes to the Gateway Project, real justice has yet to arrive for the beleaguered residents of southwest Detroit in particular, and taxpayers in general. It won’t be achieved until the project is completed as designed.

If attaining that goal means putting Moroun and Stamper back in jail, then we can only hope that other judges have the same sort of integrity and fortitude Prentis Edwards displayed last week.

Windsor-Essex Parkway will not be road to nowhere, politicians vow

But highway will have ramp to Ambassador Bridge

By Dave Battagello, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — Politicians vowed Thursday during groundbreaking for the $1.4-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway that it will not be a “road to nowhere” and will eventually lead to a second Detroit River bridge.

But just in case, there will be a ramp off the parkway near E.C. Row Expressway so trucks can reach the Ambassador Bridge via Huron Church Road.

“If you look at the road, you travel two-thirds of the (distance), then have a ramp to the Ambassador Bridge,” said Michael Hatchell, technical director for the Windsor Essex Mobility Group, the consortium formed to build and maintain the massive road project.

“That will always be there. As it turns toward the new crossing there will be a ramp … that can access the Ambassador Bridge.”

The proposed DRIC bridge that would link Brighton Beach with Delray in Michigan has yet to receive the state’s approval.

Billionaire bridge owner Matty Moroun, who is proposing a twin span for his bridge, has continued his bitter fight to kill the competing DRIC project.

“We are building,” said Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan (L – Windsor-Tecumseh). “Mr. Moroun is simply trying to protect a monopoly and we are prepared for the fight.”

MPP Sandra Pupatello (L-Windsor West) said she hopes Michigan lawmakers who vote later this year on the DRIC bridge’s fate are paying close attention to the economic benefit the parkway will bring to Windsor and Ontario.

“We need the jobs and economic boost this is going to give us,” she said. “Of all the states in the U.S. that need this, it’s Michigan. We have to allow them to go through their own process, but we know our economy needs this infrastructure.”

Ross Clarke, a leader of the former Mich-Can bridge proposal which sought to build in the same corridor as the DRIC bridge, believes the downriver bridge will be built despite Moroun’s lobbying.

“Eventually, (the DRIC bridge) has to get done to improve Canada getting goods into market in the U.S.,” Clarke said. “The new bridge will end up right where we first proposed it starting 15 years ago.

“We need two facilities. The momentum is there now and we need more bridges. Michigan will eventually be on board with it.”

The parkway groundbreaking symbolized a giant step forward for Windsor’s economy and the nation’s trade, said politicians and project leaders at the ceremony.

After a half-dozen years of debate and more than 300 community meetings, construction for the 11-kilometre highway goes into full swing starting this weekend.

The one-of-a-kind highway will feature 11 tunnels that will cover 1.8 kilometres of the below-grade road and include 300 acres of green space. It is expected to create about 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Critics have described the project as a “road to nowhere” because the DRIC bridge has not been approved.

“It is not the road to nowhere,” Duncan said. “It is the road to the future for our city and no one is going to stop this.”

Mayor Eddie Francis applauded the community’s effort to fight for the best environmental solution possible to get tractor-trailers off local roads.

“This is a solution that gets trucks off our streets and will improve our quality of life,” he said.

Added Essex County Warden Tom Bain: “It’s taken a long time to get here, but it’s been well worth it now that we are here.”

The first stages of construction will see demolition and reconstruction of the North Talbot Road bridge over Highway 401; a new Howard Avenue-Highway 401-Highway 3 connection; and road building next to E.C. Row Expressway between Malden Road and Matchette Road.

Construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

“Today, it is very exciting because it’s the beginning of the job,” said Ignacio Lasa, the Spanish CEO of the Windsor Essex Mobility Group. “We are not only here for construction, but also ongoing maintenance, so that means 33 years.

“We believe this project will define the community into the future. We want this project to improve the quality of life for the community. And we want the community to be proud of our work.”

In all, 3.9 million cubic metres of earth will be excavated during construction – enough to fill the Rogers Centre in Toronto 2½ times.

The biggest headache for Windsorites will be 5,600 piles that have to be pounded into the ground, a consequence of the dozens of bridges and tunnels that will be constructed.

Coun. Drew Dilkens represents neighbourhoods near ground zero where construction will occur and expects his phone will be ringing with complaints.

“People need to know there are outlets to give them a chance to express concerns,” he said. “This is the type of project where there will be some pain and be disruptive, but we have to live through this in order to get to the other side where life will be better for everyone in the region.

“This will be a legacy project that will make the community proud when it’s done.”

Citizens clean up trash from property owned by Slumlord Billionaire (Manuel ‘Matty’ Moroun)


“Matty Moroun is a billionaire slumlord who owns countless unsafe, unoccupied and dilapidated properties throughout Detroit, which discourage jobs and investments from coming to Michigan,” said JoMeca Thomas, spokeswoman for the Good Jobs Now coalition. (Photo by Good Jobs Now)

DETROIT – Citizens today cleaned up the land around one of many vacant Detroit properties owned by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun — then attempted to drop the garbage from that and five of his other properties off at his office. But security for the building, as well as officers from the Warren Police Department, stood guard to prevent the garbage from being delivered.

Thanks to the hard work of volunteers who have cut grass, cleared brush and picked up litter — and no thanks to Moroun — six of Moroun’s more than 400 vacant properties have been cleaned up recently, with more to come in the days and weeks ahead. The trash hauled Friday from those sites was enough to fill a 24-foot U-HAUL truck. A makeshift “Matty” was presented with a bill for the clean-up services, along with job applications to show that the trash removal could have provided work for Detroiters.

“Matty Moroun is a billionaire slumlord who owns countless unsafe, unoccupied and dilapidated properties throughout Detroit, which discourage jobs and investments from coming to Michigan,” said JoMeca Thomas, spokeswoman for the Good Jobs Now coalition, which helped organize the cleanup. “Instead of allowing slumlords like Matty Moroun to turn our cities into symbols of disrepair and despair, we should be rebuilding them.”

Today’s cleanup took place at 8172 Kenney St. in Detroit. The Kenney site and other Moroun vacant properties are featured on “Matty Moroun’s Parade of Slums,” which can be found at www.mattymoroun.com.

“We hope that by cleaning up some of Matty Moroun’s properties, he will take the hint and start using his considerable wealth to improve Detroit’s neighborhoods, instead of leaving them in shambles,” cleanup volunteer Linda Dennis-Goss said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s not willing to take out his own trash, however.”

A Moroun spokesman told the Detroit News in an article published today that Moroun’s real estate holdings company has begun an “aggressive and specific initiative” to deal with the slums, including hiring people to inspect the residential properties.

Morris offers new bogus poll numbers

Ambassador Bridge-Paid Poll Finds 48% Back Second Span


Close to 48 percent of Michigan voters would rather see the Ambassador Bridge build a second span over the Detroit River as opposed to the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) based on polling released today by Dick MORRIS, the Bridge’s hired gun.

The survey of 504 Michigan residents conducted over the past weekend was quickly thrashed by NITC supporters as a “13-question push poll” for stating as fact statements that Canadian and Michigan officials say are grossly inaccurate.

But Morris said he believes he “goes out of his way” to give supporters good wording on certain parts of the polls. The results, he said, are proof that the Ambassador Bridge’s television ads are working and that the public has decided overwhelming to oppose the bridge.

Morris wouldn’t go into the amount of money the Ambassador Bridge has spent on television ads, but did say they were running across the country in February and have been running statewide in recent weeks.

Exactly 47.8 percent said they would support a “privately owned extra span on the Ambassador Bridge. Another 30.2 percent said the backed a “new bridge owned by Canada and Michigan.”

“The public has decided overwhelming to oppose (the NITC). When you have something of this magnitude, where it approaches two-to-one, it’s a massive public rejection,” Morris said.

Asked if he felt the questions were 100 percent accurate, Morris said, “I think they are accurately descriptive of the point of view of each side.”

Tom SHIELDS of the Marketing Resource Group said the Morris 13-question “push poll” continues to “test the lies” told by the Ambassador Bridge folks.

“The questions that are accurate are the gender and party voting behavior questions,” he said. “Repeating the lies do not make them true. There are no Michigan taxpayer dollars being used for the construction of this bridge no matter how many times and how much money the Ambassador Bridge spends to repeat it.”

Reporters quizzed Morris about the poll’s wording starting with Question No. 2, which reads: “There are discussions now of building a new bridge to connect Canada and Michigan near Detroit. One proposal is for a new bridge paid for by the Canadian and Michigan governments. The other is for an additional privately owned span on the Ambassador Bridge entirely financed by private money. Which would you prefer . . . ?”

During today’s press availability on the poll inside the Governor’s Room at Karoub Associates, reporters questioned whether Michigan taxpayers would ever be in position to pay nothing. Legislation designed to create the public/private partnership needed to set up the managing authority for the bridge specifically relieves the state from being on the hook for one cent.

“It’s factually wrong,” said one reporter covering the event about some of the poll’s language.

“If you say so,” Morris said. “My understanding is different.”

Question 13 asks, “Supporters of the government bridge have proposed paying 10 percent of the cost of the bridge to the Detroit community, where the bridge will be built to provide golf courses, swimming pools and community centers. In view of this, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose building the government bridge.

Reporters asked where Morris got this information. He said all of the aforementioned projects have been part of past community benefits projects. If NITC proponents want to take golf courses, swimming pools and community centers out of the equation “that’s fine,” but prior proposals have included such projects, Morris said.

NITC supporters have commissioned two polls on their project, including one asked by Bill BALLENGER for Inside Michigan Politics. That poll showed 66 percent support for the NITC as opposed to 23 against, Shields said.

A February statewide poll done by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce one week after the Governor’s State of the State address, showed that 89 percent of the respondents say they support the plan to build a new bridge to supplement the 81-year-old Ambassador Bridge. Nearly 70 percent (69) said they strongly favor it.

The poll question explained to voters that it would be built at no cost to Michigan taxpayers and that $2 billion in matching federal funds would be used for road construction and maintenance statewide

Ohio Senate to Michigan Senate Regarding DRIC

Michigan House Bill 4961

June 1, 2010

Chairman Gilbert, Members of the Michigan Transportation Committee, I am writing in support of House Bill 4961 which would allow Michigan to enter into a public-private agreement and further allow them to begin construction on the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) between the United States and Canada.

The importance of Canada’s relationship with the US and nearly every state including Ohio is critical.  One can speak of culture or tourism or the value of a friendly border neighbor, but the real driver of the relationship is commerce and trade. Canada is the largest foreign trade partner for the United States. In addition, Canada is Ohio’s top export markets with bilateral trade amounting to $35.8 billion for 2008. An estimated 267,500 jobs in Ohio are supported by United States-Canada Trade and Canadians made more than 605,300 visits to Ohio during 2008 spending more that $138 million.

A critical tool in this Ohio/ Canadian trade exchange is the international boarder crossing at Detroit/Windsor.  Between the existing tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge, this crossing is the busiest international border crossing in the world.  The present bridge was built in 1929 and in recent years has been a point of delay especially for trucks crossing the bridge.  These delays have curtailed commerce and have made goods on both sides of the border less attractive to companies of the other side.

Approximately 54% of United States-Canada trade moves by truck and about half of the truck use the Detroit and Port Huron Border Crossings. These statistics not only show the important trade relationship between Ohio and Canada, but also the importance of the new Detroit River International Crossing.

The Ohio Senate recently passed Senate Resolution 223 to support the construction of the new Detroit River International Crossing between the United States and Canada.

As the resolution states, “Plans are underway to build an additional border crossing system over the Detroit River, known as the Detroit River International Crossing.” Since the State of Michigan needs legislative authority to enter into a public-private partnership and enter into an agreement with Canada to build this border crossing, Senate Resolution 223 urges the Michigan Legislature to act swiftly to authorize the DRIC and assure that the United States can continue to efficiently and safely move people and goods across our border.

As a member of the US-Canada Relations Committee for Midwest CSG, I have had the opportunity over the past several months to travel to several regions of Canada and discuss new ways for leaders in the Midwest states and Canada to join together to create jobs, attract business investment and grow our local economies. Construction of the DRIC is critical to this effort.

Thank you for allowing me to offer proponent testimony for Michigan House Bill 4961.

Steve Buehrer

Ohio State Senator

1st District

Gordie Howe International Crossing

MDOT responds to last minute desperation resolution from the Ambassador Bridge board

Dear Members of the Michigan House of Representatives:

This letter provides responses to claims made by the Detroit International Bridge Company in their letter dated May 17, 2010.

Claim: The Ambassador Bridge is the only border project that protects Michigan and its taxpayers from any financial or other liability.

Response: The only project that protects Michigan and its taxpayers from any financial or other liability is the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) as a result of the offer by Canada to cover Michigan’s costs on the project. On the other hand, the record of the Ambassador Bridge owners is just the opposite. Their failure, as confirmed by the courts, to complete the Gateway Project as agreed, has exposed the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to the refund of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Federal Government because the Gateway Project is so incomplete it doesn’t work as agreed. Further, the Ambassador Bridge owners are engaged in multiple lawsuits against MDOT and the U.S Government that continue to consume taxpayer resources. The Ambassador Bridge owners have not prevailed on a single suit.

Claim: No matter how it is spun, Michigan taxpayers are left with huge financial and other liability.

Response: MDOT and Canada are confident that DRIC will mean no debt costs fall on either nation’s taxpayers. As stated by James Kusie, Director of Issues Management and Parliamentary Affairs of Canada’s Transport Minister “…over the duration of this concession, toll revenues are expected to cover the private capital and financing costs as well as operations and maintenance costs.”

Claim: The responses to MDOT’s “Request for Proposals of Interest” are suggesting availability payments NOT financing via tolls.

Response: The Ambassador Bridge owners fail to cite which two of the largest transportation infrastructure developers in the world have to say about financing DRIC:

“The appropriate business model for this project is a Public-Private Partnership where the developer is responsible for traffic risk and is granted the right to retain toll revenues.” Cintra
“A preliminary financial analysis based on the traffic forecasts prepared by Wilbur Smith on behalf of MDOT, and a series of assumptions revealed that the project (excluding the customs inspection plazas) can be financially viable without a government subsidy under a 50-year concession. While this analysis is preliminary in nature, it is our assessment that toll revenues should be sufficient to cover costs for the bridge, the U.S. interchange and the toll plazas currently estimated at US $1.48B (estimates derived from Appendix B of the RFPOI) Meridiam
So, if these responses were part the formal bidding process to engage a private partner to build DRIC, only Meridiam and Cintra would remain in competition. From these two, the one successful bidder would be chosen. In the end, Michigan taxpayers will have no financial exposure with DRIC.

Question: Why would Michigan support DRIC while it is failing to maintain its roads and


Response: As Governor Granholm has stated “..this project is a no brainer” because all of

Michigan’s costs will be covered by Canada. This includes use of any federal highway formula funds. So, road and bridge projects are not affected at all anywhere in the state by Michigan’s involvement in DRIC.

Claim: The proposed Ambassador Bridge second span has only red tape delaying implementation and construction.

Response: The Ambassador Bridge owners do not have a valid application submitted to Canada to build this project. The application is designed by law to protect the health and welfare of its citizens and protect the environment–doing that is NOT red tape. When a valid application is submitted to Canada, it will take years to gain all approvals.

The Coast Guard is the U.S. agency charged with granting or denying the approvals necessary to permit the Ambassador Bridge to construct a second span. The Coast Guard issued a letter on March 2, 2010, “…to the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC), terminating the U.S. Coast Guard bridge permit application process for the proposed Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project (ABEP) ….(because) .. despite several meetings between the Coast Guard and DIBC and its counsel there has been no movement by DIBC or other involved entities on those issues which resulted in (placing the project in) abeyance (on June 15, 2009). Developments since the issuance of the abeyance letter include several ongoing lawsuits between DIBC and state/federal agencies and a court decision that ruled DIBC does not have the necessary property rights to construct the bridge.” In Canada, the Canadian Transit Company does not currently have any approvals necessary to proceed with construction. In addition to the requisite approval of its environmental assessment, the Canadian Transit Company will require a number of regulatory approvals, including approval under the International Bridges and Tunnels Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Claim: The Ambassador Bridge owns all property on both sides of the river needed to complete its span except for a ¼ acre parcel of contaminated park (which has been closed to the public for more than 10 years) owned by the city of Detroit

Response: Public parks are protected by federal law. The Bridge owners have illegally seized this park as if they are not bound by the laws of the land. Likewise, they claim they are a “federal instrumentality”. The U.S. Attorney has petitioned the federal courts to have the Bridge owners cease that claim.

Claim: Past and future capital investments by the Ambassador Bridge are eligible for “Toll Credits” which can be used as local matching funds to U.S. federal funding for road and bridge repairs.

Response: The Ambassador Bridge has refused to make any information available to support its claim, after multiple requests from MDOT to do so. On the other hand, expenditures on DRIC will be readily available for public review and, as such, available to gain “Toll Credits” for use on other projects throughout Michigan.

Claim: The Ambassador Bridge has invested $500 million to fulfill its obligation to replace the original span.

Response: The claim of a $500 million investment is unsubstantiated. And, it is a different claim than made in testimony before the Michigan Legislature on May 19, 2008, when the Ambassador Bridge representatives stated “…the Ambassador Bridge has invested over $500 million–a half billion dollars–in property acquisitions on both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the river.” Just as in the Toll Credits instance, talk is not substantiated.

Claim: The Ambassador Bridge owners are fully committed to the Gateway Agreement.

Response: If this claim were true, there would not be multiple lawsuits on the Gateway Project to require enforcement of the agreement because the Bridge owners failed to complete the project as agreed. This position has been ratified by decisions of Judge Edwards.

Gordie Howe International Crossing

A statement from L. Brooks Patterson

May 5, 2010

A statement from Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson.

“The DRIC is the only game in town,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “If we don’t partner with Canada on this deal and accept its offer of funding, the only alternative is to sit back and watch New York builds its fifth span. I encourage support on this important project.”