Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Detroit-Windsor Bridge: Up with Snyder and down with Maroun

WXYZ on YouTube: New bridge to Canada announced

Governor Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Harper announce a second crossing from Detroit to Windsor.
This is good news, as a second bridge is desperately needed* and this is the only bridge the Canadians will allow to be built. Furthermore, the Canadians so want it to happen that they will subsidize Michigan's share of the construction. It's one of the few things Governor Snyder has done that I've always been in favor of.

That written, the owners of the Ambassador Bridge aren't happy about this. They want the second bridge to be one of theirs, never mind that the Canadians will never allow them to build it. They helped organize one of the groups of protesters at the ceremony. WXYZ on YouTube reports on them, too.

Two groups of protestors were at Cobo Center during the signing of a plan for a second crossing to Canada.
The owners of the Ambassador Bridge haven't given up. They're organizing a petition drive to put the bridge up for a vote this November.
The Moroun referendum: Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun and his family have begun a petition drive to put a referendum on the statewide ballot in November requiring voter approval to build a new international bridge or tunnel for motor vehicles.

Known as "The People Should Decide," the referendum would amend the state constitution to require such a vote both statewide and in the municipality where the bridge or tunnel is proposed.

The fine print in the referendum would apply it to any bridge or tunnel not actually open and serving traffic as of this past Jan. 1. If passed by voters, that provision would seem to mean that Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed public bridge would require an up-or-down vote by the people.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who serves as Snyder's point man on the bridge project, on Thursday called the referendum wording flawed in many respects and "a blatant attempt to protect a monopoly." He predicted that voters would reject it and that its terms could not be upheld in court even if voters approve the amendment.

As for the retroactive nature of the referendum, Calley said the constitutional protections for contracts bar attempts to amend contracts retroactively, so an agreement signed Friday between Michigan and Canada would be protected from a November referendum.
I was approached by a petition circulator for this proposed referendum on Thursday. I asked her if this was for Maroun's second bridge. When she said yes, I responded that I would not sign the petition. I then told her that Matty Maroun could go to Hell and walked away.  I hope all you who read this entry tell Maroun to go jump, too.

*Crossing at the Ambassador Bridge was so slow and expensive that I made a point of driving all the way up to the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia whenever I wanted to go to Canada. Fortunately, I never had to go to Windsor. Instead, I was always driving to Stratford, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford, Hamilton, or Buffalo, destinations that were just as accessible from the 402 as from the 401, if not more so.

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