Ambassador Bridge continues to overstate value of toll credits

The Ambassador Bridge sent out a release today that said that their long over due repair costs of $25 million would result in $100 million of toll credits for the state in federal matching highway funds. However, the Ambassador Bridge knows that it’s very likely that none of the money spent on their repairs will qualify for additional matching federal funds for Michigan.

First, only funds spent on the Michigan side of the border qualify. That would cut the $25 million in half to around $12.5 million. Secondly, Michigan toll credits have not qualified for federal matching funds in six of the past seven years because Michigan is spending less each year on it’s roads and bridges.

This means that the only expenditures the Ambassador Bridge spent in 2008 to fix up their bridge or plaza in the last seven years have qualified for federal matching funds. However that doesn’t stop the Ambassador Bridge from offering up false promises. Earlier this year, the Detroit International Bridge Company held a press conference announcing they were turning over more than $750 million in toll credits that would generate more than $3 billion for state roads. However, after months of research, only $50 million qualified for toll credits that could be used for this year’s budget.

We have learned two things about toll credits: They are not a sure thing and if it’s coming from the Ambassador Bridge, it’s probably not true.

Ambassador Bridge opens third lane

$25 million redecking project ahead of schedule

DETROIT – The road work on a third lane of the Ambassador Bridge has been completed and the lane is now open to traffic.

The Detroit International Bridge Company redecking work is running ahead of schedule, with work on the fourth and final lane to possibly be fixed in December — six months in advance of the original completion date.

Other repairs the company is making are replacing the deck of the main span, roadway stringers, railing system and lighting. There will be three lanes that are always open while one lane is under construction.

The project began in September 2010 in the west curb lanes with demolition of the deck, sidewalk, railing, structural steel and lighting. The road way will be eight feet wider with an updated concrete filled deck, tubular railing and LED lighting.

Dan Stamper, president of the Detroit international bridge company said, “This redecking project demonstrates our commitment to invest whether it takes to provide the safest, most efficient crossing in North America. The $25 million investment translates into toll credits that would allow the state of Michigan to be eligible for $100 million in federal transportation funds. We look forward to continuing to provide toll credits to create jobs and improve our statewide infrastructure.”