Detroit mayor snubs billionaire's bid to buy tunnel

| 12/13/2005

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has reportedly denied billionaire Matty Moroun’s $30 million bid to buy the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and 25 acres of adjacent land.

The Windsor Star reported Kilpatrick has shelved an earlier agreement for Moroun to assume control over tunnel operations and construct a shared toll system on the Detroit side for both the tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge that connect the city with Windsor, Ontario.

Moroun’s company, the Detroit International Bridge Company has private control over the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest traffic link between the U.S. and Canada.

Moroun’s plan to acquire the tunnel drew fire from Canadian officials and members of the Detroit City Council, according to The Star, which led to Kilpatrick’s decision to deny.

Canadian officials were particularly concerned because the plan included a proposal to move Canadian customs agents to the toll plaza on the Detroit side of the river.

The Detroit & Canada Tunnel Corp., which operates the tunnel owned by the cities of Detroit and Windsor, is in the process of renegotiating its 15-year lease to further prevent the Moroun plan from moving forward, The Star reported.

Land Line’s requests to contact Moroun’s company have gone unanswered.

– By David Tanner, staff writer