Government bridge backers slam Moroun, Proposal 6 wording

By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press Business Writer

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and other backers of a new government bridge to Canada unleashed a salvo of pro-bridge facts and figures today in their effort to defeat Proposal 6, the anti-government bridge ballot question pushed by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun and his family.

At a news conference in Detroit today, Calley told reporters that voters should reject Proposal 6’s amendment to the state Constitution that would require a statewide and a local vote before the state could spend money on a new bridge or tunnel to Canada.

“Michigan cannot turn over control of its Constitution to a special interest, one guy who wants to maintain a stranglehold on this corridor’s commercial traffic,” Calley said of Moroun and the Ambassador Bridge. “It’s an economic risk, it’s a security risk, it’s a hazard to the state of Michigan.”

Maintaining the Morouns’ control over truck traffic between Detroit and Windsor “doesn’t belong in our transportation policy. It certainly does not belong in our Constitution,” Calley said.

Calley and his allies continued to hammer at the wording of Proposal 6, which defines “international” crossings as “any bridge or tunnel,” wording that might force a statewide vote on even local bridge and tunnel projects in the state.

Calley estimated that more than 100 local bridge projects around the state could be held up if Proposal 6 passes.

Another NITC backer, Larry Merrill, executive director of the Michigan Townships Associations, condemned the “incredibly sloppy wording of the ballot proposal” that might require a vote on any local bridge or tunnel project anywhere in the state.

“If we see Proposal 6 pass, it would be an incredibly self-inflicted wound,” Merrill said.

Center for Automotive Research to Release Study on Job Creation, Economic Impact of New International Trade Crossing

Representatives of the statewide coalition in support of the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) will gather across the state this Thursday as the Center for Automotive Research releases a study outlining the job creation and economic impact of building the new bridge. The study, “Analysis of the Economic Contribution of Constructing the New International Trade Crossing: A New Bridge Linking Detroit and Windsor,” which will be available for the first time, highlights the opportunities that will be generated from both the construction and operation of the NITC.

DETROIT

Who: International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 324, General Vice President and Business Manager John Hamilton; Center for Automotive Research Director of Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies and Associate Research Director Kim Hill; Ford North America Manager of Supply Chain Management, Material Planning and Logistics Bill Storves; and Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams.

When: 9:30 a.m.

Where: Detroit Regional Chamber, One Woodward Ave., Suite 1900, Detroit, MI

LANSING

Who: Michigan Manufacturers Association Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Johnston; Center for Automotive Research Director of Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies and Associate Research Director Kim Hill; and Ford North America Manager of Supply Chain Management, Material Planning and Logistics Bill Storves. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 324, General Vice President and Business Manager John Hamilton.

When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: Michigan Manufacturers Association, 620 S. Capitol, Ave., Lansing, MI

GRAND RAPIDS

Who: Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Baker; International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 324, General Vice President and Business Manager John Hamilton; and Center for Automotive Research Director of Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies and Associate Research Director Kim Hill.

When: 2:30 p.m.

Where: Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, 111 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI

Operating Engineers demand Bishop take action on DRIC

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop must keep his promise to allow a vote on legislation to build the Detroit River International Crossing, the head of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 said in a sharply worded letter sent to Bishop this week.

In May of this year, Bishop promised to allow an up-or-down vote on House Bill 4961, which authorizes construction of the DRIC and will instantly create 10,000 Michigan jobs, according to the May 27 edition of the MIRS newsletter. Bishop appeared to go back on his word last month, saying there will not likely be a vote on the critical legislation.

“Unless you allow the Senate to take action, not only will Michigan lose the chance to add 10,000 jobs, businesses will continue to bypass Michigan and invest in states with better infrastructure,” wrote John Hamilton, IUOE Local 324’s general vice president and business manager. “Business and labor groups throughout Michigan agree: Investing in infrastructure is vital to our future. Just about every major survey done in recent years has told us that good roads and bridges are key considerations for businesses when they look to locate in Michigan.”

If the Senate refuses to act on the legislation, it will die at the end of the year. Bishop, meanwhile, is term-limited and has less than three months left in his Senate career.

“Doing nothing may be an option for you, but for everyone else in Michigan, options are running out,” Hamilton wrote to Bishop. “People are hurting out there. They need work. At a time when Michigan families are struggling, our elected leaders’ number one job should be creating jobs.”

“Please give them the opportunity to do just that and allow a vote on House Bill 4961 before the end of the year,” Hamilton wrote.

IUOE 324 represents about 17,000 Michigan workers who build, operate and maintain Michigan’s buildings, power plants, schools, roads, bridges and infrastructure. The union is dedicated to working with the business community to create jobs and build a stronger future for Michigan.

Engineers Push Bishop For DRIC Vote

Senate Majority Leader Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester) must keep his promise to allow a vote on legislation to build the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), the head of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 said in a sharply worded letter (click here to view) sent to Bishop this week.

In May of this year, Bishop promised to allow an up-or-down vote on HB 4961, which authorizes construction of the proposed new span connecting Detroit with Windsor and will instantly create 10,000 Michigan jobs.

Last month, Bishop said there will not likely be a vote on the legislation.

“Unless you allow the Senate to take action, not only will Michigan lose the chance to add 10,000 jobs, businesses will continue to bypass Michigan and invest in states with better infrastructure,” wrote John HAMILTON, IUOE Local 324’s general vice president and business manager.

Construction workers invade Lansing to support DRIC and 10,000 Michigan jobs

Construction workers and tradesmen from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America, and International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers were in Lansing today to support House Bill 4961 and the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC).

Construction workers and tradesmen are urging the Michigan Senate to stop bickering and put Michigan construction workers back on the job by passing legislation that would allow the DRIC to move forward, a project that will provide 10,000 jobs for Michigan construction workers. The legislation has broad, bi-partisan support from both business and labor.