Calley: Public bridge bid critical to state economy

By Oralandar Brand Williams
The Detroit News

Dearborn — The issue of a proposed second bridge between Detroit and Windsor was the focus of a town hall meeting Monday at Henry Ford Museum.

Michigan’s Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Canadian Consul General Roy Norton held the public discussion on the proposed second Detroit-Windsor bridge. Under the plan, Michigan is expected to pay Canada back for its part of the cost of the new bridge through toll collections.

Calley said the bridge will bring 10,000 jobs and is “critical and pivotal” to Michigan’s economy and the nation’s security.

Norton called the proposed bridge project, announced in June, “Canada’s No. 1 infrastructure priority.”

Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun wants to add another span to parallel his bridge between Detroit and Windsor, while Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder supports the Canadian government’s plan to finance a new $4 billion bridge, expected to be complete by 2016, a few miles downriver.

About 70 people attended the event.

Many came to get information in time for the November election.

Proposal 6, the ballot initiative pushed by the Moroun-backed group The People Should Decide, would require a statewide vote for new bridges or tunnels to Canada.

Ray Kilmanas, a Dearborn resident, said he came to the meeting to hear first-hand about the bridge plans.

“I would like to find out who is going to pay for it,” said Kilmanas, who says he thinks the proposed new bridge should be a publicly built one.

Rose Bogaert differs.

“My concern is the money,” said Bogaert, the chairman of the Wayne County Taxpayers Association.

“I think it should be privately owned if someone is willing to (build) it,” she added. “That way, if there is a risk involved it is someone else’s problem.”