Cynical Synapse

Tue, 01 Jun 2010

Ambassador Bridge Owner Gets Double-Tapped

Filed under: Budget, Business, Greed, Justice, Legal, Paradoxes, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 1:32 pm

Detours remain at Ambassador Bridge

Grosse Pointe billionaire and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun did not have a good week leading up to the holiday.

First, the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear Moroun’s case against the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) lawsuit over the Gateway Project. MDOT says Moroun, or more precisely his Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC), failed to provide freeway connections according to the agreed upon designs and signed contract. Unless Moroun takes the case to Federal court, he’ll have to reconstruct connections to I-75 and I-96 at, perhaps, a cost of millions of dollars. If Michigan invested $230 million in taxpayer dollars on the Gateway project, why couldn’t Matty Moroun meet his part of the bargain? Maybe because Moroun built a duty-free store and gasoline pumps in anticipation of his second span, at least partially on land owned by the City of Detroit. Kind of arrogant and presumptuous, don’t you think, Mr. Moroun?

Second, the Michigan House passed a bill to allow Michigan to finance a second, publicly-owned Detroit River crossing (aka bridge). Ambassador Bridge owner Moroun has been seeking Coast Guard approval for a second span. Nonetheless, he claims a second—Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC)—span is not economically viable. What he means is “I want my own second span, but yours is no good.”

No to Moroun's second bridge span

Considering that Detroit-Windsor is the highest volume border crossing between the US and Canada, it’s not prudent to leave a private entity with total control over cross-border traffic. Granted, there is the tunnel, but it’s not really a commercial crossing; trucks use the bridge. And, since Moroun doesn’t want to live up to the terms of the Gateway Project, a public span seems more in the interests of citizens in the region than a second Ambassador Bridge span.

Granted, the Michigan House bill still needs to make it past the Michigan Senate and Gov. Granholm who supports DRIC. Canada has already offered to fund Michigan’s part of the span, to be reimbursed by tolls until paid off. Environmental impact studies are, essentialy, done. This all seems like a no brainer to me.

Previously on the Ambassador Bridge:

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6 Comments

  1. I’m still looking into this, but something is seriously wrong about our nation when a private businessman who is doing a great job wants to expand his business, and the government tells him no because they want to compete against him.

    Also, the bridge the government is going to build is going to cost several times more than the one the private businessman wants to build, and will not generate enough revenue to quickily pay the interest on a loan of that size. That’s why the Michigan Constitution forbids this type of speculation.

    Comment by A Conservative Teacher — Mon, 14 Jun 2010 @ 9:18 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be interested in what you conclude.

      My issue with Manny Moroun and his bridge company has to do with his arrogance toward southwest Detroit and public officials.

      He violated his contract with MDOT and usurped city of Detroit property to build a duty-free store and gas station sited to support his twin span. He refuses to permit public inspection of the Ambassador Bridge and won’t release reports of inspections he’s had done. Yet the bridge carries tens of thousands and all kinds of cargo, including hazardous materials.

      Moroun says a public bridge downriver is not economically viable, yet building a twin span at his bridge somehow is? There’s also the issue of the infrastructure on the Canadian side not being able to handle any increased traffic from a twin span.

      As for the public bridge, it definitely needs a closer look. Costs of the basic bridge, whether Moroun’s or the public’s, should be pretty comparable. The public bridge needs access roads built to it on both sides, so there is an added cost.

      I certainly don’t see either option as critical at this particular moment. Whether it’s because the public bridge is a Gov. Granholm pet project or not, the legislature seems to have picked up some sense of urgency that makes no sense to me. Too bad they don’t feel that way about their primary responsibility—the budget!

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Tue, 15 Jun 2010 @ 6:13 pm

      • Costs of the bridge are different if the bridge is built by a private company or by the government- and that’s the point. Government’s aren’t supposed to be in the business of building and operating bridges, and are bad at it, and so it costs a lot more when they do it.

        I care less about the guy’s attitude, only about him doing a service at no cost to taxpayers.

        Comment by A Conservative Teacher — Mon, 07 Feb 2011 @ 6:35 pm

      • Most of the roadway infrastructure in the US is public (meaning government) owned, so why would bridges be any different? In fact, most are publicly built, owned, maintained, and managed.

        That said, my problem with Matty Moroun is his arrogance and blatant disregard for the law, legal contracts, and public property. I’m amazed he argues there’s not enough traffic to support a public bridge—the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project—at the same time he wants to twin his Ambassador Bridge span.

        As for DRIC, the proposed location lacks the convenient freeway connections as the Ambassador Bridge. So there is no ideal public or private solution.

        Comment by cynicalsynapse — Mon, 07 Feb 2011 @ 8:57 pm

  2. the guy wants to build a bridge.
    No else wants too.

    After Kwame raped the city. You are upset at this guy?

    Youpeople are fucking retards!

    Comment by Roger — Sun, 24 Oct 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by.

      It doesn’t strike you as odd that Manny Moroun says traffic doesn’t justify a second span for public money but he wants to build his own second span?

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Sun, 24 Oct 2010 @ 5:04 pm


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