Another Shocker! Moroun Files Another Lawsuit

Ambassador Bridge owner claims Michigan is costing him toll revenue

By Gus Burns | fburns@mlive.com 

on February 21, 2017 at 1:37 PM, updated February 21, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Matty Moroun and his Detroit International Bridge Company claim the state is improperly diverting trucks hauling hazardous cargo from crossing the Ambassador Bridge and cheating the company out of millions in tolls.

The bridge company, which has been at odds with state efforts to build a competing span, the Gordie Howe International Bridge projected to be completed in 2020, claims the state is creating hazardous materials routes that prohibit truckers from crossing the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor without the authority to do so.

The claims were made in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday naming Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle as a defendant.

“MDOT’s jurisdiction is limited to state trunkline highways and does not extend to private

property,” says the lawsuit filed by the Mike Cox law firm in Livonia. “The Ambassador Bridge is privately-owned and is not a state trunkline highway.”

The bridge company is asking the court to order MDOT to end any routing related to passage of hazardous materials using the bridge.

Commercia semi crossing tolls can increase to in excess of $75 each way for wide loads and up to $6.75 per axle, based on weight, according to the bridge website.

Moroun’s company has indicated plans to build a new private bridge to run parallel to the Ambassador Bridge.

The nearly 90-year-old Ambassador Bridge would receive upgrades but only be used for emergency travel if a new span were built, planners say.

Moroun purchased Ambassador Bridge in 1979.

Read the full lawsuit:

Ambassador Bridge sues Michigan Department of Transportation by MLive.com on Scribd

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2017/02/ambassador_bridge_owner_claims.html

Great Lakes members of Congress push Bridge Project

Great Lakes delegates try to get Trump’s attention with priorities letter

Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com By Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com

on February 13, 2017 at 5:55 PM, updated February 14, 2017 at 11:46 AM

Members of Congress representing Great Lakes states hope to grab President Donald Trump attention with a letter to the White House that outlines key regional priorities that delegates hope to work on with the new administration.

The letter, dated Feb. 8, was signed by 20 members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, from the eight Great Lakes states in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It extends congratulations on Trump’s ascendance to the White House and outlines economic interests of the Great Lakes region like continued emphasis on pollution cleanup and new investments in maritime infrastructure.

The letter specifies the importance of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the threat posed to the sport fishing industry by invasive Asian carp, and highlights the economic importance of upgrading the Soo Locks.

A leaked list of Trump infrastructure project priorities in the Great Lakes region include the Soo Locks, Detroit’s M-1 Rail streetcar transit system, and the new international bridge between Detroit and Canada.

“We expect the president will take our concerns seriously and have no reason to doubt that he won’t,” said Brian Patrick, spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force.

Patrick said the letter was sent directly to the White House, where he expects administration staff will help elevate the concerns to Trump, who, in the past few days, has been dealing with the test-firing of a ballistic missile by North Korea, the fallout from his attempt to ban refugees from seven Muslim countries and meeting with the prime ministers of Canada and Japan.

Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, Feb. 13 in Washington and the two issued a joint statement, released by Trudeau’s office, affirming a “longstanding commitment to close cooperation in addressing both the challenges facing our two countries and problems around the world.”

The statement includes mention of the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, of which the two leaders look forward to the “expeditious completion” of, as well as a pledge to move forward on “energy infrastructure projects that will create jobs while respecting the environment.”

The energy infrastructure statements follow the U.S. State Department’s Feb. 10 finding of no significant negative environmental impact from Enbridge Inc.’s permit application to boost capacity on its Alberta Clipper cross-border pipeline, which could move up to 800,000 barrels-per-day of tar sands oil from Alberta across North Dakota and Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin if approved.

The statement specifically mentions the cross-border Keystone XL oil pipeline, a controversial project blocked by Barack Obama, which Trump has revived.

“We also look forward to building on our many areas of environmental cooperation, particularly along our border and at the Great Lakes, and we will continue to work together to enhance the quality of our air and water,” read the statement.

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/great_lakes_delegates_try_to_g.html

TRUMP/TRUDEAU: BRIDGE A VITAL LINK

Trump, Trudeau commit to pre-clearance, Gordie Howe Bridge

Posted: Feb 14, 2017 12:33 PM | Last Updated: Feb 14, 2017 12:33 PM

TORONTO, ON – The inaugural meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resulted in a joint statement by the two leaders. And while the statement didn’t mention NAFTA, it did mention the importance of deepening the relationship between Canada and the U.S.

The statement touches on some issues pertaining to the trucking industry, namely the quick completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Detroit, which is cited as a vital economic link between the two countries.

In addition, the statement mentions the commitment to implement pre-clearance operations for cargo.

“The United States and Canada also recognize the importance of cooperation to promote economic growth, provide benefits to our consumers and businesses, and advance free and fair trade. We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards. We will work together regarding labour mobility in various economic sectors,” an excerpt from the statement reads.

In a press conference after the two leaders met, Trump talked about the good relationship between Canada and the U.S., and when pressed about his past statements regarding NAFTA, he mentioned that “tweaks” could be made to better the situation on both sides of the border. The president also mentioned the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico is more problematic than its trade relationship than Canada.

“Together, we address security at our shared border and throughout our two countries, while expediting legitimate and vital cross-border trade and travel. We demonstrate daily that security and efficiency go hand-in-hand, and we are building a 21st century border through initiatives such as pre-clearance of people and integrated cross-border law enforcement operations,” the statement from Trump and Trudeau read.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), many Canadian business groups are pleased with the results of yesterday’s inaugural meeting between the two leaders.

“This creates a good foundation for moving forward on initiatives to jointly grow our economies in the spirit of cooperation that has defined the Canada-US relationship for over 200 years,” says David Bradley, Chief Executive Officer, adding that his 4,500 member companies will be greatly relieved by the results of yesterday’s meeting between the two leaders.

“The opportunities to deploy state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology – starting with key projects like the Gordie Howe International Bridge – to ensure that both security and trade facilitation is improved, are immense. We are encouraged by what we heard today,” says Bradley.

Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders the CTA, joined by of roughly 40 Canada-U.S. business associations, companies and policy experts, released a joint statement outlining the general principles that should be followed when managing the world’s largest security, trade, and cultural relationship.

http://www.todaystrucking.com/trump-trudeau-commit-to-pre-clearance-gordie-howe-bridge

Trump and Trudeau Talk Gordie Howe Bridge

Howe bridge highlighted during Trudeau-Trump meeting

DAVE BATTAGELLO, WINDSOR STAR

More from Dave Battagello, Windsor Star

Published on: February 13, 2017 | Last Updated: February 13, 2017 4:17 PM EST

The Windsor and Essex County region can breathe a little easier after gaining recognition during Monday’s high-profile meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge was featured as the only infrastructure project mentioned in a joint statement released by the two leaders, while they also endorsed the value of continuing the booming Canada-U.S. trade relationship which is critical to Windsor’s economy.

“The United States and Canada recognize the importance of cooperation to promote economic growth, provide benefits to our consumers and businesses and advance free and fair trade,” said the joint statement.

“Given our shared focus on infrastructure investments, we will encourage opportunities for companies in both countries to create jobs through those investments. In particular, we look forward to the expeditious completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will serve as a vital economic link between our two countries.”

The Howe bridge mention will be reassuring to regional business leaders who count on the Windsor-Detroit crossing which handles 25 per cent of all trade between the two nations.

Rendering shows one possible cable-stayed concept of the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge.COURTESY OF WINDSOR-DETROIT BRIDGE AUTHORITY

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Chairman Dwight Duncan was “delighted” to see the Howe bridge mentioned so prominently in the joint statement.

“It was the only project referenced,” he said. “I’m very happy and this confirms what we have been saying that despite the change in (U.S.) administration this project would be a go and top priority for both governments.”

Given how the bridge project was also so highly placed in the Trudeau-Trump statement also bodes will for the push to get the Detroit River crossing project done, Duncan said.

The planned six-lane Howe bridge should see construction begin some time in 2018 after a project contractor is selected at the end of this year by bridge authority.

Construction is expected to take about 42 months with completion likely to occur in 2022.

The joint Trudeau-Trump statement also noted how Canada is the most important foreign market for 35 U.S. states with more than $2 billion in two-way trade “flowing across our shared border every day.”

“Millions of American and Canadian middle-class jobs, including in the manufacturing sector, depend on our partnership,” the statement said.

“We affirm the importance of building on this existing strong foundation for trade and investment and further deepening our relationship, with the common goal of strengthening the middle class.”

Windsor-Essex Chamber CEO Matt Marchand said the local area — where thousands of jobs are connected to the U.S. — should be at peace following the meeting.

“The U.S. president and prime minister talking about the importance of trade between the two countries was heartening to hear,” he said. “Obviously it was a good sign this administration will value the relationship with Canada — not just with trade, but as friends and allies.”

The fact Trump acknowledged the importance and his belief in the trade relationship “should go a long way in restoring confidence and end any concerns of a trade war,” Marchand said.

Topped off by the Howe bridge being prominent in the statement, the meeting certainly turned out to be “very positive for the Windsor-Essex County region,” he said.

“It’s clear the (Trump) administration was very well-briefed on the importance of the relationship between the two countries,” Marchand said. “That’s a credit to our diplomatic corps and their preparation for the meeting. Their efforts clearly paid off here.”

http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/howe-bridge-highlighted-during-trudeau-trump-meeting

Trump Order Not Effecting Border

Windsor-Detroit border traffic not impacted by U.S. travel ban

CTV Windsor 

Published Wednesday, February 1, 2017 4:59PM EST 

Last Updated Wednesday, February 1, 2017 6:42PM EST

It’s been four days since U.S. President Donald Trump made headlines for his travel ban for people from seven countries.

It would appear the impact, so far has yet to be felt locally, even though leaders and residents on both sides of the border continue to voice concerns about getting across borders like that of Windsor-Detroit.

People who don’t have a Canadian passport, but might be from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will not be allowed to travel into the United States for at least the next 90 days.

Steve Ondejko, president on Onfreight says he thinks it was overblown.

He says none of Onfreights loads have been stopped or even delayed in clearing the Windsor-Detroit border this week.

Officials at both the Windsor-Detroit tunnel and Ambassador Bridge report no impact on traffic.

“It’s unclear as to what the actual restrictions are going to place on our industry in particular,” says Ondejko.

Ondejko admits however, all of his 100 drivers have Canadian passports and none are from the seven countries currently under a travel ban.

Bill Anderson chair of the Cross Border Institute says most of the trade, between Ontario and the United States goes across by truck.

Anderson says they are scrambling to collect information about what’s to come. He says even if the border has been moving efficiently and Canadian travellers aren’t delayed, they could be.

“It comes in when people are getting stopped for prolonged periods, that’s when it could start to have an impact on Canadian commuters. There’s a lot of confusion about who’s actually going to get caught up in this.

http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/mobile/windsor-detroit-border-traffic-not-impacted-by-u-s-travel-ban-1.3266950

Moroun Continues to Abuse the Legal System

State of Michigan seeking quick dismissal of latest Moroun suit

John Gallagher , Detroit Free PressPublished 10:29 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2017 | Updated 3 hours ago

The State of Michigan is seeking an expedited ruling to quash the latest attempt by businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun to delay or block construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

The dispute in the Michigan Court of Claims in Lansing stems from the attempt by the Michigan Department of Transportation to use its eminent domain powers to take some Moroun-owned land in southwest Detroit’s Delray district for the Gordie Howe Bridge project. Late last year, MDOT made what it described as a good-faith offer of $11,520,000 for the Moroun-owned land on West Jefferson Avenue in a filing in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Besides opposing that action in Wayne County, Moroun filed suit in the Court of Claims, where actions against the state are brought, seeking a ruling that Gov. Rick Snyder lacked the authority to negotiate a deal with Canada to build the bridge. As Moroun attorney Mike Cox, the former state attorney general, said when filing the Moroun action, “We say any bridge that is going to be built has to follow the law.”

In its response filed Monday, the state argued that a quick dismissal of Moroun’s Court of Claims suit was needed “to prevent Mr. Manuel Moroun from doing what he has done so often in recent years — misusing the legal process to delay the Gordie Howe International Bridge and preserve his monopoly on cross-border bridge traffic between Detroit and Windsor.”

Moroun and his family own and operate the privately held Ambassador Bridge, the venue for an enormous amount of cross-border trade and traffic. The family has fought the publicly owned Gordie Howe Bridge project tenaciously for years because the  new bridge is likely to siphon off a significant amount of trade and traffic, and the profits that come with them, from the Ambassador Bridge.

As the state’s filing Monday noted, Moroun has filed multiple lawsuits over the years in courts in Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Canada seeking to block the Gordie Howe Bridge. So far, he has lost on all major points and the bridge project is proceeding.

Recently the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority issued its request for bids to three teams of finalists vying to get the contract to build and operate the span. The authority is expected to name a winning team in 2018, followed by construction, with the new bridge opening around 2022.

Six Moroun-owned companies — Crown Enterprises, DIBDetroit, Riverview-Trenton Railroad, Central Transport, CE Detroit and the Detroit International Bridge Co. —  filed the lawsuit on Dec. 29 in Michigan Court of Claims against Snyder, MDOT and the Michigan Strategic Fund. The lawsuit argues that the state is improperly seeking to use eminent domain to take property from the companies because the state constitution gives the Legislature — not the governor — the authority to build international bridges.

Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @jgallagherfreep.

http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2017/01/31/moroun-bridge-michigan-lawsuit/97254572/