Moroun loses another one in court

Judge dismisses state rep’s suit challenging new bridge to Canada

By Paul Egan
Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau

LANSING — An Ingham County judge has dismissed a Democratic state representative’s challenge to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s plans to build a new public bridge to Canada.

Judge Joyce Draganchuk said state Rep. Fred Durhal, D-Detroit, lacked standing to bring the lawsuit. That means the judge determined Durhal does not have a strong enough connection to the issue to be an appropriate person to bring the lawsuit.

“I think that was not right,” Durhal said today.

He said part of his argument was that it was wrong for Snyder to go around the Legislature to approve a deal with Canada to build the New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor. Therefore, any state legislator should have standing to bring the challenge, he said.

Durhal sued in April after Snyder signed an agreement with Canada to build the bridge in May of 2012. Durhal said Draganchuk dismissed the suit two weeks ago.

Snyder acted on his own after he couldn’t get legislation out of a Senate committee to allow for the new bridge.

Durhal, who is running for mayor of Detroit, said he is considering an appeal but is busy with other issues. His Detroit attorney, Godfrey Dillard, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ken Silfven, a spokesman for Snyder, said the ruling is “a win for working families who will benefit from the thousands of jobs resulting from the NITC.

“This project is important to Michigan’s future and we’ll continue moving forward,” Silfven said.

Snyder was represented in the case by the Attorney General’s Office.

Snyder has made the bridge a top priority, saying it will clear a border bottleneck, facilitate trade and create construction jobs. Most business groups in the state support the new public span.

The bridge is opposed by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, who is challenging Snyder’s plans in federal court.