Fight over second Detroit-Canada bridge continues with public pleas from both sides
Updated On: Jun 21 2012 05:30:55 PM EDT
The group, The People Should Decide, is finishing up work collecting signatures of registered voters to put the new bridge to Canada on the November ballot.
Mickey Blashfield the director of The People Should Decide said at a Friday afternoon news conference they’ve gathered 420,000 signatures, well above the 322,000 needed. He said they plan to turn them into the Secretary of State on July 9.
Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun is behind the petition drive to put the new bridge on the November ballot.
He is also expected to take this issue to court.
In response to the opposition, the governor told reporters, “This is the right thing to do for the people of Michigan. We’re just going to keep moving forward. And it’s about respecting the process. Objections will come up. Issues will come up. We’ll just take them one step at a time and address them and keep moving forward.”
The governor spoke to the Southwest Detroit Business Association this morning telling them the new bridge will bring 10,000 new jobs in the construction phase and new long term jobs as international trade improves.
The governor told the group that his administration intends to engage the area where the new bridge would be built for workers, contractors and young people to do apprenticeships in trades jobs on the bridge.
The new bridge would be paid for in part with a loan from Canada, matched with US federal funds and Canada would be paid back through bridge tolls.
The governor says no state tax dollars will be used.
Snyder is doing this without the Michigan Legislature that voted down a new bridge.
Detroit International Bridge Co. wants to add a span of its own.
Here is some history on the existing tunnel and bridge:
According to its website, www.dwtunnel.com, the tunnel was finished a year ahead of schedule in 1929. The tunnel is jointly owned by Detroit and Windsor. It is operated by two separate agreements by the Detroit and Canada Tunnel Corporation.
Approximately 27,000 to 29,000 vehicles pass through the Tunnel on a daily basis. The Tunnel handles almost nine million vehicles per year, of which 95 percent are cars and 5 percent are trucks, according to dwtunnel.com.
One and 1/2 million cubic feet of fresh air is pumped into the tunnel each minute.
A $50 Million renovation program was launched in 1993, including a completely new road surface, new sidewall tiling, new lighting, complete video surveillance and restoration of the Tunnel’s stone cover beneath the Detroit River, according to dwtunnel.com
Owned and operated by the Detroit International Bridge Company, along with the Canadian Transit Company, the Ambassador Bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America.
Bridge construction began in 1927 and it was ready for use in 1929.
DIBC provides an extensive rundown of the Ambassador Bridge's history in this downloadable PDF: History of the Ambassador Bridge
Complete coverage: Detroit, Windsor bridge agreement