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Election 2012: Michigan voters clear path for new Detroit River crossing
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Nearly 60 percent of Michigan voters rejected a proposal meant to block the building of a new bridge to connect Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. However, the issue is likely far from resolved.

Proposal 6 on the statewide ballot sought to amend the state constitution and require a vote of the people before any new international bridge or tunnel is built connecting Michigan and Canada, including the New International Trade Crossing.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder over the summer unveiled his plan to build a new toll bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor to relieve congestion on the Ambassador Bridge.

To entice support from their neighbors, the Canadian government has offered to cover Michigan’s share of the project that is estimated to cost about $2 billion. Canada and the private developer would be repaid for their investments from the bridge’s toll revenue.

However, bridge opponents have stood firm on the issue. Critics say they have doubts about the necessity to build another structure. They question whether delays on existing structures are tied to inspections and not bridge capacity concerns.

Another concern is that the bridge will end up costing taxpayers money – a claim the governor denies.

Billionaire trucking mogul Matty Moroun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge, spent more than $33 million opposing the state’s plan, according to media reports. Instead, he is pushing to build his own bridge next to the existing structure, which is about two miles from the proposed NITC site.

Snyder has indicated that he expects the state to get the necessary presidential permit and approval in order to move forward with the project by next summer.

In the hours after the election defeat, Moroun was not throwing in the towel. His office indicated in a statement that legal battles over the project could continue.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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