Sunday, February 14, 2016 | Subscribe

Michigan’s Proposal 6: a bridge of deceit

Right now the Detroit River is a moat, and the Ambassador Bridge is a draw­bridge guarded by a greedy old troll. Moats and draw­bridges aren’t built to welcome traders but to dis­courage invaders. This is a problem for Detroit, con­sidering the bridge connects a trade partner in Canada to our eco­nom­ically troubled man­u­fac­turing and agri­cultural state.

Proposal 6, an ini­tiative on the Michigan ballot this Tuesday, seeks to amend Michigan’s con­sti­tution by requiring a statewide and local vote before Michigan can build another inter­na­tional bridge. It is a last-ditch effort by the Detroit Inter­na­tional Bridge Company’s co-owner Matthew “Matty” Mouron to maintain a monopoly on Detroit-Windsor tolls.

Michigan needs a new bridge for four simple reasons; it will help the economy, improve security, it is affordable, and it is constitutional.

While this bil­lionaire is guarding his troll tolls, he has been con­structing a bridge of deceit that now connects a majority of voters to bad public policy. Mouron dumped over $9 million into ads this election season.

The most basic economic argument for the bridge is that it encourages trade. Every Michi­gander should welcome trade, with the auto-industry in recovery and the Mitten state in want of outside investors. The people of Michigan can make Detroit-Windsor a more attractive shipping route by con­structing a new bridge.

Sup­porters of Proposal 6 point to the recent decrease in traffic on the Ambassador, as if to say one bridge is adequate. This argument is so short­sighted it’s like staring at the muddy banks of the Detroit River while trying to catch of glimpse of Caesar’s Windsor Casino.

As Michigan’s economy recovers, the Ambassador Bridge will not accom­modate an increase in shipping. Anyone who crossed the Ambassador during the thriving mid-1990s remembers huge back-ups. A single trucking company loses millions of dollars in delays and reroutes each year. After an economic recovery, do we really want com­panies to discover the lone route over the river can’t handle trucking?

Not only do trucks and cars bot­tleneck near the bridge, but also once in Windsor, truckers must navigate the city streets. The new bridge, planned two miles away from the Ambassador, would connect drivers entering Canada to Highway 401 immediately.

While wel­coming trade, we can still keep out bad guys, and two bridges are safer than one.

With so many trucks traveling across the Ambassador, it is impossible to monitor the border thor­oughly without creating major traffic jams. Two bridges means more customs agents giving more attention to indi­vidual con­tainers. Dis­bursing traffic gives immi­gration officials more time to do back­ground checks, look at cargo, and detain criminals.

In the event of a ter­rorist attack or natural disaster, two bridges decrease the like­lihood that America and Canada are cut off from each other.

As for the cost of the project, it’s extremely affordable. In fact, it’s free. That’s right, free.

Canada wants the bridge so badly they are writing the check. The Canadian gov­ernment obviously has faith in the investment. They believe the $2.1 billion project will pay for itself through tolls from increased traffic.

Even with Canada footing the bill, Michigan will build the bridge and the project will create roughly 10,000 needed con­struction jobs.

Voting no on Proposal 6 makes sense for Michigan. It is the silly political hackery of an 82-year-old bil­lionaire trying to thwart a com­petitor. We shouldn’t let the gov­ernment pick winners and losers, or encourage this monopoly. Michigan has seen enough hard times, and deserves help fos­tering more pros­perity in Detroit. Defeating Proposal 6 is the nec­essary next step.

  • John Bajan

    Phil,

    Great article, much dif­ferent than Marouns’s ad’s ( you actually give facts and tell the truth ). I worry about Prop 6 a lot, I have been to Detroit and studied what has happened to that greatCity, Detroit’s future recovery needs jobs and lots of them. A brand new bridge is a huge leap in the right direction. Let’s hope for saner heads to prevail and kill Prop 6 and then put lots of people back to work.

    John Bajan, Van­couver, B.C. Canada

  • Laurie Coil

    I’m confused by some of the facts/statements in this article. It’s doc­u­mented that Matty wants to build a second bridge — with his own money — not costing the tax payers a dime to build the customs plaza etc… This would still create the 1o k plus jobs stimulate the economy, help with security and all that you men­tioned. So why do we need the gov­ernment to build the bridge and why should the voters not decide on how they want tax dollars spent? Also I did a search and Matty is not 82, he recently turned 85 this past summer.

  • Pingback: “Michigan needs a new bridge for four simple reasons; it will help the economy, improve security, it is affordable, and it is constitutional.” | New International Trade Crossing()

  • marc d hesse

    Proposal 6?
    According to the polls the une­d­ucated, those without a high school diploma are voting yes 55% to 45% no. Anyone with a high school diploma is voting no on proposal 6, 62% no to 38%yes. College educated 75% no to 25% yes. Those with a degree in eco­nomics 95% no to 5% yes.The only question that is left to answer is. “Are there enough stupid people in this state to pass proposal 6?” VOTE NO ON 6! TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

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