By Jared Rodriguez | President, West Michigan Policy Forum
Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about Detroit’s “Border Baron,” Matty Moroun and his self-serving, Quixotic quest to make sure his company maintains its monopoly over commercial truck traffic between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario in its May 3 edition.
The article ends with Moroun bristling at an idea suggested by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley that Moroun’s company should bid to build and run the New International Trade Crossing – a badly needed second span that would compete against his own Ambassador Bridge.
“That’s insane,” Moroun responds.
Sadly his statement is more apt as an assessment of the political process he and his cronies have managed to hijack.
Moroun has managed to channel “insane” logic and millions of dollars into an effort to block the creation of a bridge backed by much of Michigan’s business community, unanimous votes by state legislatures in Ohio and Indiana, Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. and Canadian governments.
Moroun took the insanity to an entirely new level by recently launching an effort to stall the new bridge yet again. This time he wants to create a special provision in the state constitution benefitting only him that would require voters to approve any new international crossings.
Enough is enough. The people of Michigan are smart enough to see through this charade. Unfortunately some members of our state legislature weren’t able to see past the money Moroun showered upon them, clouding their common sense when the issue came to a head in 2011.
Gov. Snyder has recently signaled a willingness to consider other means of accomplishing the goal of getting the bridge built. Real leaders lead – and our Tough Nerd is doing just that.
Construction of this new bridge between Detroit and Canada is an investment no less important than our investments in airports and highways to connect our economy to the global marketplace.
Not only would the bridge pave the way for billions of dollars worth of additional trade, it would cut travel time, create jobs, save on fuel costs and provide a badly needed redundancy for the Ambassador.
Don’t be misled by Moroun and the outright lies.
The NITC would cost Michigan taxpayers nothing unless they choose to pay the toll to cross the privately financed and operated new bridge instead of using the Ambassador.
Yes: Private dollars would cover an estimated $950 million in construction costs for the bridge, repaid to investors through tolls.
Canada has agreed to invest $550 million to cover the cost of the Michigan infrastructure improvements needed to lead up to the bridge. Federal dollars allocated to the project would pick up another portion of the tab – a wise investment in a piece of infrastructure that will benefit the entire nation (as legislators and Ohio and Indiana have unanimously recognized).
Gov. Snyder will take his lumps from politicians and well-heeled special interests to ensure this bridge becomes a reality. I stand with the people of Michigan prepared to support his courageous leadership.
Jared Rodriguez is the president of the West Michigan Policy Forum, which will highlight the role transportation infrastructure improvements can play in rebuilding Michigan’s economy at its conference Sept. 12 and 13 in downtown Grand Rapids. For more information, visit wmpolicyforum.com.