Editorial: Progress on much needed bridge

A key step forward for the New International Trade Crossing — the much needed new bridge over the Detroit River that will improve trade connections between the U.S. and Canada, should be celebrated across the state.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a permit needed for construction of the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor after a federal judge turned down a request from owners of a private bridge to block the permit.

The Moroun family, owners of the Detroit International Bridge Co. and its Ambassador Bridge, have fought to protect their privately owned crossing. But a broad coalition of business, labor and political leaders from both major parties have vigorously supported a new bridge to be built in partnership with Canada. The Canadians are so eager for a better crossing with improved traffic flow that they will pay Michigan’s construction costs up front, waiting to be reimbursed from tolls.

Land purchase and funding for a Customs plaza on the U.S. side of the bridge still must be resolved. Detroit is the busiest trade crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Improved crossing options with shorter wait times is especially important to the region’s automakers.

Let’s keep progress moving on this important project.

Alcohol decision was right

The Lansing City Council was right to support a liquor license for the Hope Sports Complex at its Monday meeting.

Public-private partnerships such as the one that brought an outside firm in to manage the Aurelius Road complex require a willingness to compromise, adapt and collaborate.

The majority of council members showed their understanding of that when they voted 7-1 to support the liquor license requst from Mid-Michigan Sports Turf LLC, the firm that contracted to operate the sports complex last summer. Mid-Michigan Sports Turf has made $1.3 million in improvements to the complex, and now wants to offer limited alcohol sales to create revenue that would help future improvements. Sales would be limited to a the indoor and outdoor seating areas of an on-site cafe; adults would not be free to walk the grounds carrying alcohol. The company has pledged to provide security during tournaments.

The complex hosts youth soccer, but also adult leagues and semi-pro football. The alcohol request is reasonable, as long as the company keeps its pledge of monitoring. The city already allows alcohol sales at events where young people are present with adults, including Lansing Lugnuts games. The council has done its part. Now it falls to the company to police alcohol sales and service appropriately. A good outcome all around.

An LSJ editorial