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.