A member of the family that owns the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Canada testified before a state Senate committee in Lansing today.
He spoke with a handful of lawmakers who appear annoyed by conflicting information.
Matt Moroun told lawmakers that a proposal to build a publically owned bridge between Detroit and Canada is unnecessary because traffic is down, and tolls would not cover the construction costs.
But he also says the company is prepared to build a second bridge.
That prompted this question from Republican state Senator Geoff Hansen:
“If you receive a permit, will you build a second span?”
“The next day we’ll start. Promise.”
Republican state Senator Mike Nofs asked why the Ambassador Bridge owners would want to build a second bridge.
“Why would you build a second bridge the next day if you can’t make the money? The tolls aren’t going to be there. The traffic isn’t going to be there," Nofs said. "It’s going to cost you a lot more money, and you have to expand the roadways on both sides, and you have a government against you apparently right now - Canada - why would you build a second span?”
Moroun says his family’s company needs to build another bridge because the Ambassador Bridge is about 80 years old, and costs a lot of money to maintain.
Democratic state Senator Virgil Smith from Detroit says the Ambassador Bridge owners are controversial figures in the city.
“If you want to proceed with this – with the new project, with the new bridge – I think you’re going to have to clean up a number of your actions in southeast Michigan to do so, or I don’t see it happening no time soon," Smith said.
Many state senators expressed frustration with what they view as a slew of contradictory studies about whether a publically owned bridge would be profitable to taxpayers, or a burden.
Hearings on the bridge issue will continue next week.