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Gordie Howe Bridge

Spacing Magazine / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about a failed attempt to get recreational pot on the ballot this November, a report that the owners of the Ambassador Bridge might soon throw some legal hurdles down river to block construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, and the latest chapter in the rivalry between Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.


For years, those who know how badly our economy needs a new bridge over the Detroit River have waged an epic battle with Matty Moroun, owner of the aging Ambassador Bridge.

For a long time, Moroun, the 89-year-old-billionaire holder of the 87-year old bridge managed to thwart any attempt to build a new bridge at what is America and Canada’s most economically important border crossing. Billions of dollars in trade cross over it every week.

The Detroit neighborhood of Delray
wikimedia user Notorious4life / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Once it's built, the Gordie Howe International Bridge from Windsor to Detroit will be one of Michigan's most important tools for international trade.

 

It's projected that truck traffic will double from the current 10,000 to some 20,000 trucks each day rumbling through the southwest Detroit neighborhood of Delray.

 

So what's good for Michigan trade – not to mention America's and Canada's trade – is going to be felt deeply by the folks living there.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is paying to clean up the Delray neighborhood, the community that will host the U.S. side of a new bridge to Canada.

The money comes from the $1.4 million the city received when the state purchased Delray land for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

Residents hope it’s just the first of a number of investments in Delray as that project moves forward.

Most people know there are two ways to cross the Detroit River into or from Canada: The Ambassador Bridge, or for passenger cars only, the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. 

But there's another little-known way only used by vehicles too long or too big to navigate the bridge, or those hauling hazardous materials.

And that's the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, which is at the end of a little-used road two miles south of the current bridge, close to where the new bridge is to be built.

Courtesy: Michigan Department of Transportation

When the Gordie Howe International Bridge from Canada to the U.S. is complete, it’s expected that thousands of trucks a day will travel through the Detroit neighborhood of Delray. Residents there want the government to keep additional pollution to a minimum.

The entrance to Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The new bridge planned between Detroit and Canada will land on the U.S. side near one of Michigan's landmark jewels. Historic Fort Wayne dates back to the 1840s and played many roles in U.S. military history.

While Detroit residents are aware of the fort, many Michigan residents outside of the city say they don't know much about its history and have never visited. So here's a short video on the history of the fort and a look at what little that's known about its future.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

It doesn't look like the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is going to have trouble finding companies to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge between the U.S. and Canada. 

The WDBA met with interested construction and engineering firms during several informational sessions in Detroit and Windsor this week. 

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

The proposed new bridge linking Detroit and Windsor is taking an important step today.  

The Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority says it is asking for major contractors interested in building the multi-billion dollar Gordie Howe International Bridge to submit their qualifications.

Trusting Matty Moroun

Jun 23, 2015

It now looks as though the Gordie Howe International Bridge is certain to become reality. Investors have to be lined up and there is still more work to be done before shovels go into the ground, but all the major political and legal challenges have been overcome.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan really is lucky to have a friend like Canada and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Canada will foot most of the $2 billion bill for building the newly named Gordie Howe International Bridge, connecting Detroit to Windsor.

The Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry
truckferry.com

 

There have been many voices speaking up in favor of a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

Top Canadian officials, Gov. Rick Snyder, big business all hunger for this planned new bridge to be built about two miles south of the Ambassador Bridge.

But one of those speaking up for a new bridge is someone who stands to lose his livelihood once the bridge is up and carrying traffic.

 

In late July, Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian officials vowed to move ahead with plans to build the New International Trade Crossing Bridge by appointing the International Bridge Authority in Windsor. 

Detroit Free Press Business Writer John Gallagher has been looking at the progress and the obstacles for the new bridge to Windsor.

He reported that with a new CEO on board and plans to hire staffers moving ahead, the bridge project seemed sure to get built. But there are still unknowns that can delay the completion date targeted around 2020.

One of the main obstacles is the legal challenge raised by the Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge.

The week in Michigan politics

Jul 30, 2014
Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss what races and issues to follow before next week's primary election, how Detroit's emergency manager has shifted responsibilities of the city's water department to Mayor Mike Duggan after controversies for water shut offs, and recent developments with the new international bridge from Detroit to Windsor, ON.

We're like that friend who never picks up the dinner tab

May 7, 2014

Most of us resent freeloaders – people who take and take, but don’t give back. People who never pick up the check at a restaurant. Everyone knows someone like that.

Well, today I want to introduce you to a new one.

This time it is a country, not a person, and she is refusing to pay not just her fair share, but any part of a mutually beneficial business proposition essential for Michigan’s future.

Worse, she is exploiting her closest ally and best friend.

The name of our welfare cheat, who happens to be rather rich herself, is the United States of America. And who she is exploiting is Canada. And on top of all that, we are doing so in a way intensely humiliating to ourselves.

Let me explain.

So whatever happened to the New International Trade Crossing Bridge?

For years, an epic battle raged between those who knew we needed a new bridge across the Detroit River, and Matty Moroun, the 86-year-old man who owned the 85-year-old Ambassador Bridge, the only game in town.

Moroun held up a new bridge for years, mostly by buying off Michigan legislators with bribes thinly described as campaign contributions, but that ended when Rick Snyder became governor.

Snyder found a way to bypass the lawmakers and conclude an agreement with Canada. That was almost two years ago, however, and ground has yet to be broken.

So what’s happening?

This time the culprit is not Matty Moroun, but, bizarrely, Barack Obama.

President Obama has been supportive of a new bridge. There was no difficulty gaining a presidential permit to build it. Money was not a problem, because our friends the Canadians are paying for almost all of it. They are advancing Michigan’s share of more than half a billion dollars, which we don’t have to pay back until the bridge is up and tolls are being collected.

http://buildthedricnow.com/

  

Remember all the political wrangling over the "New International Trade Crossing"? After that feverish campaign in the fall of 2012, where Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Maroun failed to convince Michigan voters to give him a monopoly of the Detroit River crossing between Detroit and Canada, and after Canada agreed that it would indeed pay the lion's share of the $2.1 billion it'll cost to complete the bridge – after all of that – why has there been no more movement toward getting the new bridge built? Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry explains what's up. *Listen to the audio above.

What's holding things up with the new bridge?

Dec 5, 2013

We’ve been thinking a lot about Detroit lately, for obvious reasons. Opinions differ, but pretty much everyone agrees on this: There are too few jobs and not enough money. Unemployment is high, the tax base is low. The city is officially bankrupt.

Yet there’s a project out there that should be a huge shot in the arm: The New International Trade Crossing Bridge. Estimates are that it will create at least 10,000 good paying jobs that will last four to five years. Ripple effects from those jobs will create thousands of others, some of which will be permanent. 

Canada is going to pay nearly all the costs of the bridge and all Michigan’s costs, pumping nearly four billion dollars into the economy. Exactly what the doctor ordered. So … what’s holding things up?

The week in review: taxing pensions, foreclosures and international bridge

Apr 13, 2013
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possibility of repealing a tax on pensions, how Michigan's home foreclosure rate is no longer the worst, and how the international trade crossing has a presidential permit to move forward.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

International bridge crossing to be announced today

"Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce this afternoon that the federal government has approved a deal to build a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor-Ontario," Rick Pluta reports.
 

McCotter sues staffers for forged nomination peitions

"Ex-Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter has sued a former top aide and an ex-intern, saying they deliberately submitted forged nominating petitions in his name to keep him from seeking re-election.  Elections officials discovered bogus signatures on the Livonia Republican's petitions, keeping him off the 2012 primary ballot. McCotter quit Congress in July," the Associated Press reports.

Legislation could approve wolf hunting with no room for a referendum

"The state Senate could vote as soon as next week on legislation that could throw a wrench in an effort to ban wolf-hunting. The legislation would allow hunting of 39 species – including wolves. And it would be immune to a referendum," Rick Pluta reports.

Commentary: The latest on the bridge

Apr 9, 2013

Last year was a major milestone in the epic battle to get a new and badly needed bridge across the Detroit River. Frustrated by the Michigan Legislature’s unwillingness to even vote on the issue, Governor Rick Snyder found a legal way to bypass the lawmakers.

Snyder found a clause in the Michigan Constitution that allowed him to conclude an “interlocal” agreement with the government of Canada. This didn’t make Matty Moroun, the 85 year-old owner of the 84 year old Ambassador Bridge, happy.

Moroun then spent close to $40 million attempting to get Michigan voters to ratify a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have essentially given him monopoly control of our nation’s most important border crossing for all time.

Commentary: Now just build the bridge

Nov 13, 2012

This has been a bad year for Matty Moroun, the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge. In January, he was thrown in jail overnight, for failing to comply with court orders to live up to an agreement he’d signed to finish a road project near his bridge.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Blue Cross overhaul on the "lame duck" agenda

"Lawmakers in Lansing say they want to tackle some high-profile bills before this session wraps up at the end of the year. The state House is set to hold its first hearing Tuesday on a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The measure would turn the state’s largest health insurer into a customer-owned non-profit, and end its tax-exempt status. Nothing is certain, but other items on the “lame duck” agenda could include a repeal of the personal property tax on businesses, legislation to fund roads projects, and a bill to replace the emergency manager law that voters rejected in last week’s election," Jake Neher reports.

Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers possible choice to head up CIA

"Media reports suggest Michigan congressman Mike Rogers could be on a short list of candidates to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. David Petraeus’ abrupt resignation last week opened up the CIA director’s job. Multiple media outlets including the New York Times say Rogers is among those being considered to fill the post. Washington observers say Rogers, a Republican, could speed through the confirmation process. Rogers has been the chairman of the House permanent select committee on Intelligence since January of 2011. Rogers has not commented on the speculation," Steve Carmody reports.

New international bridge could be up and running in 5 years

"Governor Snyder's office and top Canadian officials are getting more information out about a proposed bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and the Canadian Consul General spoke to a group in Grand Rapids about the bridge deal Monday. Calley says trucks could be crossing a new bridge as soon as 2017. Right now the bridge is awaiting permits from the US government," Lindsey Smith reports.

Nathan Holth / historicbridges.org

There’s a lot of arguing lately about building a new bridge to Canada.

But this week, one Michigan community is celebrating a milestone for its international bridge.

On Halloween, 1962, the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie opened.   

Since then, more than 93 million vehicles have crossed the nearly three mile long bridge.   About seven thousand vehicles cross the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie on an average day.

The bridge is jointly managed by the state of Michigan and the government of Canada.

The Ambassador Bridge.
Lester Graham

The question of whether to build a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario has been the source of ongoing conflict between Gov. Snyder and Matty Moroun, owner of the Ambassador Bridge Company.

Reporter Lester Graham, with Michigan Watch, will bring us a special five-part series on the debate about building a new bridge. The series begins on Monday August 13.

Staff

The Ohio state Senate has approved a resolution supporting a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor.   

The senators say Ohio needs that bridge as much as Michigan does. 

Ohio senators say their state does $31 billion worth of bilateral trade with Canada every year – trade that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Ohio. 

The bi-partisan resolution says trade and travel between Ohio and Canada will only increase in the future, and a modern border crossing is essential to support it.  The resolution notes the age of the existing Ambassador Bridge, at 83 years. 

Owners of the Ambassador Bridge have lobbied fiercely to block a new bridge, and Republicans in the Michigan legislature recently shelved bills to start a public-private partnership with Canada, despite Governor Snyder’s strong support for the bills.   

Governor Snyder says he still hopes to win the legislature's support for the project, which will cost the state nothing, because Canada and Ontario have offered to pay the state's $550 million share of the cost.

Michigan Works! Association / Flickr

Governor Snyder has been in office for eight months… and he has had quite a bit of success getting his proposals through the state legislature. However, the Governor has not been able to get many Republican lawmakers on-board with his proposal to build a new international bridge over the Detroit River. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has been one of the Snyder administration’s most vocal proponents of a new bridge and he spoke this morning on Michigan Radio.

Snyder administration

A coalition of labor and business groups wants to guarantee certain benefits for the community near a planned bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

They’re called community benefits agreements, and they’re intended to make sure the neighborhoods that host major construction projects see things like jobs and parks – and not just pollution and traffic.

State Representative Rashida Tlaib’s district includes the site of a proposed new publicly owned bridge. She’s introduced legislation that would require the project to include a community benefits agreement:

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