BY DAWSON BELL
DETROIT FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU
The owners of the Ambassador Bridge have spent nearly $5 million this year on television advertising attacking the proposal for a publicly owned bridge a few miles downriver that would compete with their span, according to figures compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and released this morning.
MCFN’s Rich Robinson said his compilation of advertising buys from TV stations and cable providers showed the Detroit International Bridge Co., owners of the Ambassador, spent $4,074,000 from March 7 to June 21, and then an additional $618,000 when the campaign resumed Sept. 5-Sept. 19.
Robinson said the ads are clearly aimed at lobbying the Legislature to reject Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal for a new span across the Detroit River, but they have not been reported as lobbying expenses.
Members of the Moroun family, who control the Ambassador Bridge company, also made political contributions to state elected officials totaling $550,000 in 2010, and have donated another $55,500 this year, Robinson said.
Another group, Americans for Prosperity – Michigan, has spent tens of thousands of dollars this year on radio ads and direct mail, urging lawmakers to reject the new bridge. AFP did not purchase any television ads, director Scott Hagerstrom said this morning.