What: Television ad
Who: The People Should Decide Committee
Truth Squad call: Flagrant foul.
“Signing a lot of checks lately? Medical bills, gas, mortgage? Bureaucrats want to sign one for a $2 billion bridge to Canada. The Senate voted no. Now they want to go around them.”
The ad shows what appears to be a blonde suburban housewife seemingly overwhelmed with paying the household bills. It implies she could eventually be paying another bill: her share of the proposed $2 billion New International Trade Crossing bridge linking Detroit with Windsor.
The state Senate did not vote no on the project, as the ad claims. A bill to authorize the project last fall was defeated on a 3-2 vote in committee, preventing the full Senate from voting on the project.
Text on the screen of the ad says “Snyder: Working to bypass the Legislature.”
Gov. Rick Snyder and the Canadian government have, in fact, bypassed the Legislature since the ad started appearing. The two sides signed an agreement on June 15 that “lays the groundwork” for the construction of the new bridge, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“But your signature can save us $100 million a year. It’s a citizens’ petition to stop them from building their bridge unless the people vote for it.”
Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun, who wants to build his own second span connecting Detroit and Windsor, is sponsoring a petition drive that would require construction of any “new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles” be authorized by voters. Moroun’s organization, called The People Should Decide, is collecting signatures to get the proposal on the ballot in November.
Moroun has run numerous ads saying that the bridge will cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million a year. Those claims have been repeatedly denied by the Snyder administration, which says Canada will pay the state’s $550 million in costs associated with connecting to the bridge, which Canada is financing.
The June 15 agreement solidifies Snyder’s position and further says that the state will be able to use the $550 million contribution from Canada as the state’s federal match for highway projects across the state.
The ad also shows text on the screen that says, “Public bridge could lose billions.” That claim is based on a 2011 study by Birmingham-based Conway MacKenzie Inc. that estimates “cash-flow loss” of $4.7 billion for the United States and Michigan over the next 20 years.
Conway MacKenzie was hired by Moroun’s Detroit International Bridge Co. to conduct the study.
Snyder has disputed the analysis.
This is the latest in a series of ads Moroun has run as part of his multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign to stop the New International Trade Crossing.
Moroun’s ads repeatedly claim that the bridge could cost taxpayers $100 million because tolls won’t cover the state’s costs. The problem with that assertion is there are no costs because the construction agreement calls for Canada to pay for Michigan’s share of the project.
It’s healthy to be skeptical when a foreign government offers to give Michigan something for nothing. But that’s what the agreement says.
Truth Squad call: Flagrant foul for erroneously (and repeatedly) claiming that the New International Trade Crossing bridge will cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million a year.