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Ambassador Bridge

The former McLouth Steel plant in Trenton in the early 1990s.
Transkhor / Wikipedia

Wayne County is selling the former McLouth Steel plant in Trenton to a company owned by Manuel "Mattie" Moroun.

Moroun is the owner of the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

The sale price for the tax-foreclosed property is $4 million. Crown Enterprises says it will tear down the current buildings and build an automotive center on the site. 

A "silent protest" against the Bridge Company's proposal outside St. Anne's Catholic Church.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A historic Catholic church in southwest Detroit has become the latest focal point in neighborhood battles between the company that owns the Ambassador Bridge, and the community that sits in the bridge’s shadow.

The Detroit International Bridge Company wants to take over portions of more city streets as part of its expanding footprint.

The Ambassador Bridge
cmh2315fl / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge scored a big victory this week. The Canadian government has finally given the Detroit International Bridge Company permission to build a new bridge next to the Ambassador, just a couple of miles upriver from the site of the publicly funded Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about hurdles the DIBC still needs to clear before the new span can move forward.  

Ken Lund / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

In a move that surprised many, the government of Canada this week gave the owners of the Ambassador Bridge permission to build a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

Canada, Ontario, and the city of Windsor have all had a contentious, even cantankerous, relationship with the Moroun family, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

ambassador bridge
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The family that owns the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, got a boost to its plans for a new bridge that will replace the current 87-year-old one.

The Moroun family said the Canadian government has granted approval for this new cable-stayed, six-lane bridge.

Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

No matter how bizarre your fantasies, reality is sometimes crazier. Nobody could have written a script for what’s happened in national politics.

Nobody ever thought we’d be in some kind of nuclear standoff with North Korea. And few if any expected the Canadian government would ever grant Matty Moroun permission to build a new bridge next to his old Ambassador Bridge.

Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

The Canadian government has given final approval for expanding the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The U.S. approved the permit for a new bridge last year.

The Ambassador Bridge
Mike Russell / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Court of Claims has thrown out yet another attempt to stop the Gordie Howe International Bridge from ever getting built.

The lawsuit came from a suite of companies owned by the Moroun family, which also owns the competing Ambassador Bridge.

The family has tried all kinds of legal maneuvers over the past few years to stop the Howe Bridge in its tracks.

The Ambassador Bridge
Mike Russell / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There was a story two days ago that was almost entirely ignored in America, but which has significant implications for this part of the world. Dave Battagello of the Windsor Star reported that the new Gordie Howe International Bridge will be delayed another full year.

Six years ago, Governor Rick Snyder found a way to conclude a deal with Canada to build a new bridge across the Detroit River, something vitally needed if Michigan’s economy is to prosper in the years ahead.

As of now, we are completely dependent on the almost 90-year-old Ambassador Bridge, which shows clear signs of wearing out, and which wasn’t built for today’s massive tractor-trailers. About $2 billion in trade moves across that bridge every week, mainly heavy industrial components that can’t go through the tunnel.

Nobody can deny that Governor Rick Snyder is an intelligent and hard-working man. He came from very modest circumstances to earn three degrees, including an MBA and a law degree, from the University of Michigan by the time he was 24.

The Ambassador Bridge could have a new neighbor (the Gordie Howe International Bridge) by early 2022.
Michael Carian / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit are suing Governor Snyder and the Michigan Department of Transportation over the proposed new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Former Attorney General Mike Cox is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit claims only the state legislature is authorized to approve a new international bridge, and since the legislature didn't do so, the agreement between the Snyder administration and Canada (which is paying the entire cost) is illegal.

A spokeswoman for the governor says, "We disagree, and we are proceeding as planned."

Flickr user sin9e/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As more and more people turn to bicycles for transportation, fun and fitness, one might think it would be great to be able to bike between Detroit and Windsor. 

Once upon a time, that was possible. But no more.

Cyclists on social media write of being able to ride, even walk across the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor and back.

But after Matty Maroun bought the Ambassador Bridge, the bike and pedestrian walkway was replaced by wider lanes to better handle 18-wheelers. 

Work is moving along more quickly than expected on Detroit's Riverside Park.

The city gave three acres of the park in Southwest-Detroit to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge in a controversial deal last year. Detroit got five acres of land owned by the bridge company as part of the swap. That land will be used to expand the park.

Part of the deal called for the demolition of a former warehouse by late 2018. But that's underway now. 

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.

Will Greenberg/Michigan Radio

The U.S. Coast Guard took public commentary Thursday at a public meeting to discuss the possibility of issuing a permit for an expansion to the Ambassador Bridge. 

The project, officially titled the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project, would be a second span built next to the current one.

Brian Dunn, head of Coast Guard Bridge Programs, said they haven't made a final decision yet, and are considering all input once public comment ends February 28. 

Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

After years of legal battles and disagreement, peace between the proponents and opponents of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project may be near.

Billionaire Manuel (Matty) Moroun, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, is a prominent opponent of the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, but seemed to express an eagerness to compromise in an e-mail sent to The Toronto Star.

Norris Wong / Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss a land swap deal between Detroit and the owners of the Ambassador Bridge; the beginnings of a lawsuit over an Enbridge pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac; and how some residents in Hamtramck are getting so fed up with bad roads, they are filling in potholes on their streets themselves. 


Jim Wallace / flickr

After several postponements, the Detroit City Council has voted to approve the first step in a controversial land swap deal.

Detroit will receive almost five acres and $3 million from the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

The Detroit City Council is set to vote on a riverfront land deal heavily touted by Mayor Mike Duggan today.

But some council members say there are too many unanswered questions about a key part of it.

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is out and about in Detroit, trying to drum up support for a controversial land deal.

The proposed deal involves the city receiving almost 5 acres of riverfront property, currently owned by the Ambassador Bridge Company, along with $3 million. The city will use that to expand and improve Riverside Park, which is adjacent to the bridge in southwest Detroit.

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.

Michigan Supreme Court won't hear bridge challenge

Feb 23, 2015
Di Bedard / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal in a lawsuit that challenges the selection of a Detroit neighborhood for a new bridge to Canada.

Neighborhood groups and the private owners of the Ambassador Bridge claim the federal government violated environmental law, among other legal standards. But the work of the Federal Highway Administration has been upheld by a federal judge and an appeals court.

Four years ago, it looked as if efforts to build a badly needed new bridge over the Detroit River were doomed to failure.

Matty Moroun, the now 87-year-old owner of the Ambassador Bridge, had managed to corrupt the Legislature through that form of legalized bribery known as campaign contributions.

He poured hundreds of thousands into the campaigns and causes of influential legislators, most notably former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.

In fact, as Jim Blanchard, the former governor and ambassador to Canada told me, Bishop broke his promise to the people. He had promised to allow a vote in the state Senate on whether or not to allow a partnership with Canada to build the bridge.

This is a bridge, by the way, that just about every business and corporate leader in Michigan agrees we need to stay competitive.

Rick Snyder wants the U.S., not Canada, to pay for the Ambassador Bridge's customs plaza.
Michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder told a business conference in Grand Rapids today that he expects the new international border crossing between Detroit and Ontario will provide a boost to the entire Michigan economy.

The bridge will be largely financed by the Canadian government, which agreed to pay for both sides of the bridge after the Michigan Legislature balked at funding the project. However, Snyder believes it to be the United States' responsibility to to pick up the costs of the U.S. customs plaza. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT -- A federal judge won't stop the U.S. Coast Guard from issuing a permit for a new bridge between Canada and Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C., disagreed with private owners of the existing bridge, who claim a permit would cause "irreparable harm." It was a defeat Friday for Manuel "Matty" Moroun, whose family controls the Ambassador Bridge and wants to build its own second span.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Canada are trying to build a bridge over the Detroit River that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge. Canada is willing to pay for it and be reimbursed through tolls.

The Moroun family says the bridge could take up to 75% of traffic from the Ambassador Bridge.

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The owner of the Ambassador Bridge is asking a judge to stop the U.S. Coast Guard from giving a permit for a new bridge connecting Michigan and Ontario.

Lawyers for the bridge company say it has an exclusive right to provide a bridge between the U.S. and Canada. It wants to build its own second span. The Detroit Free Press says a federal judge in Washington could hold a hearing early in April.

http://buildthedricnow.com/

Canadian officials are saying the proposed U.S.-Canadian bridge is not getting the U.S. funding it needs.

That could mean the New International Trade Crossing – the second bridge between Detroit and Windsor – could be postponed beyond the project’s 2020 completion date.

As Jim Lynch of the Detroit News reports, Canadian officials are offering up $630 million to build the new bridge.

The only thing the Canadians aren’t paying for is the customs office that would need to go on the U.S. side of the bridge.

I heard something startling last weekend from a woman with whom I used to work. “So Matty Moroun is going to build a second bridge after all!” she said.

To which I said a very profound “huh?” 

Oh yes, she said. She had read it in the newspaper. She said the Canadians had given him the go-ahead to build a second span, next to his Ambassador Bridge.

That didn’t make any sense to me, since I have talked to Canadian officials and diplomats about this for years. Suddenly, I realized what she was talking about.

There was a story in the papers on Valentine’s Day saying that Moroun’s Detroit International Bridge Company had gotten environmental clearance from Canada for a new span.

Actually, it quoted officials of the bridge company as saying this. However, there were two problems with most versions of that story.

The minor problem is that what Moroun claimed – a claim reflected in the headlines – wasn’t quite true.

The Windsor Port Authority and Transport Canada did indeed issue a decision saying that a replacement for the Ambassador Bridge was unlikely to do serious damage to the environment.

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