OCTOBER 27, 2012BY: PETER SCHINKAI
Matty Moroun is desperate to keep his bridge monopoly in Detroit, and is shelling out $31 million to protect it.
Moroun, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, is the voice behind Proposal 6. If passed, this proposal would block the United States and Canada from building another bridge in Detroit, which would effectively take away Moroun’s monopoly. In his attempt to hang on, he’s outspent the NO proponents of this bill 40-1, according to the Detroit Free Press.
His campaign has certainly been colorful too, if completely off topic. He’s run ads that say that a NO vote would take away from public safety and education. The truth though is that this proposal has nothing to do with either of those items. Instead, it deals with one simple thing, a bridge.
Both governments have grown tired of Moroun, who has amassed an incredible amount of wealth while fighting with both governments. Most recently, his company, Ammex, was hit with a lawsuit for mislabeling the quality of gas, saying that gas had 93 octane when in truth, it was as low as 91.2. Earlier this year, Moroun even spent time in jail for a contempt of court charge because he refused to finish his portion of the $230 million Gateway project on time.
Throwing all of Moroun’s arguments aside, Michigan is actually paying next to nothing for this bridge. As an international project, most of the tab is being picked up by the federal government and the Canadian government. According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, the deal breaks down like this.
I-75 Hook-up: $385.9 million, paid by Canadian government.
US Customs Plaza: $413.6 million, $263.6 million paid by US government, $150 paid by Canadian government.
The Bridge: $949.1 million, originally covered by a government bond, repaid with toll fees.
Canadian Customs Plaza: $387.6 million, paid for by Canadian government
Windsor-Essex Parkway: $1.4 billion, paid for by Canadian government
As that shows, the state isn’t actually contributing at all and the cost certainly isn’t cutting into public safety, public works, education or even leaf pick-up. Moroun’s desperate though and he’s selling large. Spending $31 million to distort the truth is peanuts compared to what he could lose. Still, in a sign of amazing bi-partisan support, both Democrats and Republicans can agree that people should vote NO to Moroun and his monopoly.