Editorial: Don’t be deceived; vote no on Proposal 6

Battle Creek Enquirer

Matty Maroun has a bridge he wants to sell you, so to speak, and he’s willing to spend millions on misleading advertising to reel you in. Don’t be deceived.

Proposal 6 would inappropriately inject economic policy into the state constitution for the benefit of one family’s monopoly on a Canadian bridge crossing, and it should be defeated on Nov. 6.

The proposed amendment would require a statewide election for the construction of any new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles. It would require a similar election in the municipality where the crossings may be proposed.

The initiative is aimed at stopping the proposed New International Trade Crossing, a $2.1 billion span between Detroit and Windsor that’s been a priority of Gov. Rick Snyder since his election.

Maroun, 85, is a trucking magnate and the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which generates about $60 million or more annually in tolls, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep his gold mine to himself.

He must be a powerful man, because nobody — not even the auto manufacturers who stand to lose big if Maroun has his way — have mounted a counter offensive.

His hold over elected leaders is a disgrace to the Legislature and the reason the governor had to do an end-run around lawmakers to broker a deal with the Canadians, who have agreed to cover the cost of the bridge.

Thanks to Snyder’s leadership and initiative, the proposed bridge wouldn’t cost Michigan taxpayers a nickel. Indeed, it would be a boon to the Michigan economy. You can read the agreement for yourself and find other information at michigan.gov/buildthisbridge

But Maroun’s advertising campaign shamelessly peddles fear about the cost of the bridge, going so far as to say it will cost Michigan teachers, police officers and firefighters, and that it will drown future generations in debt.

These are lies.

Election politics is a confusing business these days, though, and political leverage at the expense of truth and honesty means that voters are left unsure of who to trust.

This week, the Detroit News and other outlets are reporting that even the United Auto Workers is prepared to cast its lot with Maroun to get back at the Snyder administration for seeking a waiver to use foreign steel in the bridge. Nevermind that the project would create thousands of construction jobs and lead to thousands more related to the international trade it would generate.

It’s sad when the opportunity for economic progress and the promise of a better life of Michiganders become casualties of political gamesmanship and the self-interest of one greedy businessman. But we still have one weapon in this battle: the ballot.

Vote no on Proposal 6 so that we can get the new bridge built and make Michigan a leader in international trade.