First vote on new international bridge could come Thursday

Oct 19, 2011

State lawmakers today were supposed to move forward with a proposal to build a new international bridge in Detroit.  Instead, the meeting broke up without a vote.

A meeting of the Senate Economic Development Committee was abruptly adjourned after a new version of the legislation was handed to the committee’s Republican chairman. Senator Mike Kowall said he needed time to review the new legislation, but he expressed annoyance that months of hearings were capped by the last-minute development.

"I’ve got to find out what’s going on guys. I have to find out. I don’t even want to speculate right now, so I’m a little irritated," said Kowall.

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration appears to have had a hand in drafting the new legislation. It includes promises to help improve the southwest Detroit neighborhood where the U-S side of the new bridge will be. Democrats say that has to be part of the legislation to win their support.

Simone Sagovac is with a community group in southwest Detroit. She says her neighborhood has been waiting on a bridge decision for too long.

“The delays in making a decision on this project, which has been hanging over this community’s head for more than ten years, is what’s really killing this community. People don’t know whether to fix their porch, whether to put on a roof on, change the carpeting out, or where they’re going to go, so we need the Legislature to make a decision," said Sagovac.

A group with ties to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge promised to return when a new meeting is scheduled.