A new group calling itself Taxpayers Against Monopolies is working to block from Michigan’s November ballot a statewide proposal backed by Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun.
The proposal seeks to stop construction of the New International Trade Crossing, a $2.1 billion bridge project that would connect Detroit and Windsor roughly two miles downriver from the Ambassador.
Specifically, the proposal would amend the Michigan constitution to require a public vote on any international bridge or tunnel project not completed by the end of the year.
The People Should Decide, a ballot committee funded entirely by Moroun companies, collected more than 600,000 signatures to place the proposal on the November ballot, but the State Board of Canvassers has not yet reviewed or approved the language. It is scheduled to do so Monday.
In a release announcing today’s press conference, the opposition group suggested the proposal is legally flawed, hastily written and could jeopardize several other construction projects around the state.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has argued the proposal could not undo an international agreement with Canada, which he announced in June, but may complicate other future projects.
Moroun’s bridge company and the ballot committee have paid for a series of high-profile television advertisements suggesting taxpayers could end up footing the bill for a large portion of the bridge project. The international agreement, however, includes specific language indicating that “Michigan Parties are not obligated to pay any of the costs.”
Canada has agreed to cover Michigan’s upfront expenses and recoup its investment through future toll revenue. The General Services Administration is expected to cover the cost of a U.S. Customs plaza and the bridge itself is to be financed by investors through a public-private partnership.
Snyder and other supporters say the new bridge would provide an important redundancy at one of the nation’s busiest international border crossings and help alleviate traffic congestion on both sides of the existing Ambassador.