Is Moroun raising toll rates to pay for his campaign to protect his monopoly?

Detroit International Bridge Co. Raises Passenger Vehicle Tolls by 19 Percent
Ambassador Bridge tolls remain highest in North America

With little fanfare and just in time for the summer tourist season, the Ambassador Bridge just raised its toll rates by 19 percent, from $4.00 to $4.75. The new toll rate continues the bridge’s position as the most expensive bridge crossing between Canada and the United States. The passenger vehicle tolls on the Ambassador Bridge are almost 50 percent higher than crossings outside of the Detroit-Windsor corridor.

The 19 percent increase in automobile tolls will net the Moroun family an additional $3.46 million per year (based on 2011 traffic), which should help them cover some of the cost for their multi-million dollar misinformation campaign against the New International Trade Crossing (NITC). This increase is a lesson in economics as the monopoly bridge owner increases his rates to spend additional dollars to keep out the competition.

The Ambassador Bridge also charges the highest rates for commercial vehicles and is one of the few bridges to charge trucks by both the number of axles and by weight.

Aside from the millions of dollars the Ambassador Bridge owners have spent to flood television airwaves, the Moroun family has also, according to the Detroit Free Press, made hefty contributions to state and federal lawmakers to the tune of $1.5 million between 2009 and 2010. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington has also released a report detailing Moroun’s lobbying costs, which have increased by 56 percent since 2009.

When consumers see another misleading ad against the new bridge or in favor of the ballot proposal, which would protect the Moroun monopoly in the Michigan Constitution, they should remember who’s paying for them – they are!

Below is a chart comparing the passenger vehicle toll rates of the busiest international crossings in North America along with the estimated revenue the Ambassador Bridge generates from passenger vehicle traffic.