Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun couldn’t stop a new international bridge from being built in Detroit with a ballot measure. Now he may be counting on lawyers to do what voters wouldn’t do on election day.
On Tuesday poll-goers rejected Prop 6, a measure that would have required a statewide vote for state money to be spent on new international bridges. (Click here to see a HuffPost Blogger debate on the issue). Following that defeat, Mickey Blashfield, a Moroun spokesman who headed up The People Should Decide ballot committee supporting the proposal, hinted at a legal challenge to the planned international bridge between Detroit, Mich. and the Canadian border city of Windsor, ON.
“If the governmental proposal doesn’t collapse from the weight of legal and congressional scrutiny, the NITC will never be built over unstable salt mine foundations, where land speculators are lining up to get rich on the government’s tab,” Blashfield said in a statement published by the Huffington Post.
“Similar and serious financial, legal and logistical questions have already been raised regarding the viability of the NITC — questions Governor Snyder and his administration have still refused to answer directly,” he said in another statement released by the Detroit News.
The New International Trade Crossing, which is supported by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Canadian federal government, would compete with Moroun’s Ambassador Bridge for traffic and tolls.
On Wednesday Gov. Snyder said there might be “shovels in the ground” for the new bridge project in two to six months, the Detroit Free Press reports. A spokesman later clarified that the governor was speaking metaphorically about getting a U.S. Presidential Permit to go ahead with the project, adding that construction would likely take about two to three years to begin.
Moroun’s business, the Detroit International Bridge Company, spent more than $40 million opposing the new bridge through television ads and its support of the Proposal 6 campaign, according to The Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
“We are happy with the investment made in this campaign on behalf of taxpayers and the 5,000 families employed by Ambassador Bridge family of companies,” Blashfield said of the campaign in release published by The Huffington Post. “Like any family business, we would do it again – and will in different ways – to defend economic freedom and limited government.”