State Proposal Asks Voters if They Should Have Final Say in New Bridges, Tunnels

The proposal is one of six on Michigan's ballot this Nov. 6, and it could play a key role in the fate of a possible new bridge to Canada.

Though the U.S. and Canada have continued to move forward with plans to construct the New International Trade Crossing—coloquially known as the new bridge to Canada—voters will decide if residents should have the final say on it.

Opponents of the new bridge, led by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun, spent millions to get the proposal on the ballot, aimed to put the bridge's future in voters' hands.

Supporters of the bridge, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, say it will be a boon for international trade, and ease congestion on the Ambassador.

According to HuffPost Detroit, the new bridge would cost about $1 billion, and would create 10,000 temporary construction jobs. Canada has agreed to foot $550 million of the bill, hoping to recoup it in toll costs.

Here's the language voters will see on the Nov. 6 ballot for the bridge proposal:

A proposal to amend the state constitution regarding construction of international bridges and tunnels

This proposal would:

  • Require the approval of a majority of voters at a statewide election and in each municipality where "new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles" are to be located before the State of Michigan may expend state funds or resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing, or promoting new international bridges or tunnels.
  • Create a definition of "new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles" that means "any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic as of January 1, 2012.

Should this proposal be approved?

A yes vote would require voter approval before the new bridge to Canada—or any other international crossing—could be built.

A no vote would allow elected officials to pursue a new crossing.

Todd October 22, 2012 at 05:41 PM
In the constitution? LOL... uhhh. NO. Ok you pack of panhandling do nothing legislators.... We're ready for your next stupid question.
dan hartway October 22, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Who are the idiots that really think this Prop will somehow channel money to these other worthy causes ? This Prop is a scam and the advertisements in support are choc full of half-truths, double-speak and innuendo. Its about the owner, a billionaire doner to right wing causes, keeping his monopoly on a critical transportation link, its also about the tools in our legislature who have no balls and do whatever the owner of the present bridge says to do.
dan hartway October 22, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Btw, the Canadians do not want a second span built along side the current one and have stopped this from happening. If anyone reading this has been to see the area that Windsor does not want taken down, they'd understand, for the rest of you guys, its a gentrified neighborhood adjacent to the Univ. of Windsor, with decent housing, apartments, victorian and different styles of single family homes, safe neighborhoods, parks and stability. Pfft.
dan hartway October 22, 2012 at 09:56 PM
SImple solution. The Canadians don't want an adjacent bridge. So we build one half way and let the people swim the rest of the way to Windsor ? The Ministry of Transport in Ottawa and Provincially in Toronto have agreed a better location would be further downriver, closer to an access road to the 401. So your statements about public and private infrastructure are moot. Besides there are a ton of successful and not so successful examples on all sides of the equation, public, private and the blending of public and private.
Chris Young October 23, 2012 at 12:06 AM
A good video, with real facts, about the New International Trade Crossing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQj5yf4gVA I am voting NO on prop.6
Haulin T Male October 23, 2012 at 04:23 AM
come on scott, no sense in fixing it up, till the time is right, property around there was going for Taxes, now it is going for 4 million per, wait and see, there is a hockey arena to be built, etc.
Haulin T Male October 23, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Ever fr8ter you see out there, on the river, it takes 3000 semis trucks to fill them,, that is why ALGOMA, has bought 4 new Trillium Class Freighters from CHINA, , two are en-route now, thats about 6000 trucks not needed from Canadian east coast to here.
Haulin T Male October 23, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Windsor, simply does not want any more truck traffic, down town.
Scot Beaton October 23, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Though I disagree time to time with Jack Lessenberry, Metro Times http://metrotimes.com/columns/those-ballot-props-1.1382150?pgno=1 -- he brings up some good points worth sharing. -- vote NO! Proposal 6: International Bridges and Tunnels. VOTE NO. Megalomanic Moroun spent almost $5 million to deceive enough voters into signing petitions to support this obscene turkey of an amendment. Basically, it says that there has to be a statewide election before the state could spend a penny for "designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing or promoting new international bridges and tunnels." Plus it would apply ex post facto to any bridge not open as of last January. The whole point is to prevent anything from ever threatening the 85-year-old billionaire's monopoly. Never mind that this would doom the rest of the state to economic paralysis. I doubt that there has ever been a citizen who has had a more malignant effect on this state than Matty Moroun. More importantly, this amendment would be bad for everyone except one man, his wife and his son. The price of freedom is, indeed, eternal vigilance. That's why studying these amendments, voting on them, and stopping attempts to steal our lives is so damn important." by Jack Lessenberry
dan hartway October 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM
We need a law on the books that would have the effect of mandating advertisers, the media and political action groups / political parties work to express the truth! this has the effect of taking out talking points, half truths and innuendo from our political process. These topics are too important to be dragged through mud and misunderstood. Of course, I would be labeled a socialist / communist, but whatever, those assholes who continue to think its a right to mislead will get over themselves.
Herb Helzer October 23, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Republicans "running over us" on the Bridge? Talk about role-reversal. Republican legislators are the ones who freely and openly hold out their hands for Moroun family contributions, then happily parrot the Moroun line. Three Republican state Senators KILLED the NITC proposal in committee in 2011, preventing an Up-or-down vote. The GOP House and Senate THWARTED their own Governor -- with Democrats united in favor of the NITC but unable to change the outcome. During the Granholm years, obstructing the second bridge was always near the top of former GOP Sen. Mike Bishop's agenda, because Granholm and the Democrats wanted it while Matty Moroun was paying good money to keep the GOP in lockstep opposition. If you don't much care about the Odious Billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun, then Vote NO on 6. Because, as I point out in my Blog post (http://northville.patch.com/blog_posts/the-pog-blog-vote-no-on-proposal-6-the-devils-in-the-details )...it's a trap that would prevent a second bridge or new tunnel from EVER being built.
Herb Helzer October 23, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I would favor a rail tunnel under the Detroit River, but that's a separate issue -- unless of course Proposal 6 passes, in which case your tunnel becomes just as much an impossible dream, requiring multiple levels of voter approval over the course of 2-3 years before the first planning session could be held or architectural bluieprint drawn. Prop 6 requires state and municipal elections based on SPEC.
Herb Helzer October 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I have more to say on how bad a deal Proposal 6 is for anyone not in Matty Moroun's employ or immediate family: http://northville.patch.com/blog_posts/the-pog-blog-vote-no-on-proposal-6-the-devils-in-the-details
Herb Helzer October 23, 2012 at 08:08 PM
It was a very clever move by Matty Moroun in 1983. But ever since then he has exploited this monopoly for his personal benefit, not just with tolls but by building a duty-free gas station on the bridge approach. Then, when the State of Michigan negotiated a contract with Moroun to improve bridge access, reduce wait times and reduce the diesel fumes in the neighborhood from all those idling trucks -- Moroun dragged his feet, then bult part of the project (using TAXPAYER DOLLARS and FEDERAL/STATE MATCHING FUNDS) in direct violation of the signed contract, forcing trucks to stay on the surface streets as they inched past his duty-free gas station. The state sued, Moroun countersued and started giving even more money to GOP legislators to put pressure on MDOT to back off. The court fight raged for something like eight years, with Moroun repeatedly losing but flagrantly disobeying court orders to take down his illegal construction and Build the Gateway Project to the original specs, until finally Judge Prentiss Edwards found Moroun and his Dan Stamper in contempt of court and had them jailed. Eventually the contract was voided, and MDOT proceeded to oversee the work themselves. Without Moroun's interference, the Gateway Project was completed in a matter of months. That's what Manuel "Matty" Moroun does, and what he WOULD do if Prop 6 passes and his EXISTING Bridge -- not subject to Prop 6! -- became the only expansion option left.
Herb Helzer October 23, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Not JUST one state referendum -- Prop 6 would require SEPARATE "municipal" elections for every jurisdiction that would need "improvements" to make a bridge or tunnel happen (roads, on/off ramps, etc.). And as it happens, Wayne County has a Home Rule Charter that makes it a qualifying "municipality" -- so the NITC would need to win voter ballot proposals for the State of Michigan, Wayne County AND the City of Detroit. Depending on how loosely "improvements" are interpreted, it could mean even more communities being forced to vote on the issue.
Marc Hesse October 23, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The NITC project is not the solution to fix Michigan's economy but it is a piece to the puzzle. The train tunnel under the river for double stacked trains is another piece. Both of these pieces are in jeopardy if proposal 6 passes. An air freight hub at willow run is another piece. A world class deep water port on the Detroit river. All of the industry in Michigan which if you don't know is a peninsula might as well be an island with our industrial products subject to if we can move them into a world market. The ports are not located in Detroit they are on the east cost and the west coast. The responsibility of government is to give our state the ability to compete in a global market and keep our state prosperous. Proposal 6 has the potential of destroying the economy of Michigan as it will forever restrict the state from providing the infrastructure required to allow our people to compete globally. November 6th we as a state are making a decision which we will be forced to live with forever with the consequences of which will forever subject the people of this state to the whims of the most litigious lawsuit slinging slum lord that has destroyed every community he has invested in through blockbusting and attrition.
Marc Hesse October 23, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I am certain this family will jump with glee when all the industry is driven from Michigan to the Buffalo corridor and he can justify building the bridge he is trying to build there. Too bad Michigan, how stupid we will look if we allow this to happen. Look it up (Ambassador Niagara) on hold until Michigan destroys itself with proposal 6.
Marc Hesse October 23, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Drive through Delray and see what 10000 trucks and 7000 cars a day dumping down fort street for an additional 6 years past the agreed upon 2 years that Maroun agreed to. Delray is destroyed as if by design. Drive through Delray Matty you can be proud of your destruction. Do you wring your hands and jump with joy as you destroy the very fabric of a community and rob the people of their quality of life just so you and yours can live better. Well you are 84 headed for what. To be the most hated family in the history of Detroit. Good job you succeeded.
Diane S. November 02, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Have you ever been on the bridge on the weekend when it's been backed up for hours with your kids in the back needing a bathroom and breathing in the exhaust from all of the cars around you to say nothing about running down your gas tank as well? I have and after that happening more than once we decided to always go up to the Blue Water Bridge. It's not that convenient but given the alternative it's a far better alternative. Build the bridge and increase the commerce back and forth. It's a smart move.
Haulin T Male November 04, 2012 at 02:18 PM
A few corrections, The bridge was offered to CofDet to build they turned it down, back in the 20's, the crash came, PRIVATE enterprises came, built it, a Smith guy was bought out by a I CON, who then sold out to Maroun, any state, or individual could of done the same. Del Ray, .... has two steel mills, go to any steel mill town, and see what it looks like.Burns Harbor, Indy Harbor, Middle Town OHIO, just two miles off of 75, mid way between dayton. and Cinn., most of you don't even know it is there. Del Ray, Great lakes steel, Cement plants (pluro from the past) stone ports, salt co's, more then the salt mines, they have the YOUR WATER plant, ware house district. Marathon OIL, all surrounding, the Rouge river, and the CUT that ford dug out so ships can move straight in to fords factory and steel mill............. so don't blame a conspiracy on private people, that whole corridor, is was for the processes we didn't want in our back yard. Slaughter houses, constant running of refridg. trucks at produce ware houses............... ir goes on and on.
Haulin T Male November 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM
add to the above the INFAMOUS ZUG island, oh not to mention all the miles of rail and rails switching yards . the tunnel to Canada, which some unwanted's come and go, I am told, there is a reason why that area is heavy into Hispanic populations, it is void of any CODE enforcement, etc, so it is live and let live........ this Maroun guy didn't create this area it was there b4 him. why aren't ppl all over Illitch? he gets things done b4 you know it, out of your sight? or the Ford's, It seems this Marty guy provides as many jobs to us as Ford does in Michigan......... It is hard to find the History of the Ambas bridge but it is there....... dig deep
Haulin T Male November 04, 2012 at 02:52 PM
The lady says traffic backed up on the week end.......... truck traffic is way down, no lines any more. The adgents for the border patrol etc. can have a slow down any time, that does not mean work slower, but more thoroughly with more questions searches etc. Does not mean there is more TRAFFIC, I knew a canadian who worked over here his whole life, 6 some times 7 days a week he would traverse, some times he would be running other times he was already thru his breakfast, "they must be looking for a crook" they were asking 50 questions........... most of the time I get waved right thru, that was back in the 60's so back ups are most times for cars, Man made.....not indicative of monstrous traffic...... just a mind jogger
Scot Beaton November 04, 2012 at 04:35 PM
http://rochester.patch.com/blog_posts/my-two-cents-f7d84694 My Two Cents -- Posted on November 3, 2012 at 10:17pm Proposal 6: "International Bridges and Tunnels. VOTE NO. Megalomanic Moroun spent almost $5 million to deceive enough voters into signing petitions to support this obscene turkey of an amendment. Basically, it says that there has to be a statewide election before the state could spend a penny for 'designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing or promoting new international bridges and tunnels.' Plus it would apply ex post facto to any bridge not open as of last January. The whole point is to prevent anything from ever threatening the 85-year-old billionaire's monopoly. This amendment would be bad for everyone except one man, his wife and his son. The price of freedom is, indeed, eternal vigilance." Jack Lessenberry -- Jack I'm with you 100%.
Scot Beaton November 04, 2012 at 04:36 PM
My two cents -- I think over the past decade this has been more driven by a Canadian Government that actually represents the voices of their constituents. This is a land use issue and our neighboring friends of Windsor Ontario. Sandwich Town a historical middle class neighborhood that doesn't want additional bridge truck traffic... I personally have had great advertising clients from this area of town... it's quite pretty. The Battle Of The Bridge http://www2.metrotimes.com/news/story.asp?id=9236 "They're as bad as any corporate neighbor could ever be," she says. "They've never once consulted with the people here" on the planned expansion. "For them to go ahead and twin the bridge, Sandwich Town would lose 120 acres and they'd build a road right through the center of the area." Sandwich Town is located along the Canadian border of the Detroit River, and was established in 1797. It is considered one of the oldest, most historically significant settlements in Ontario. Many historic buildings remain in Old Sandwich Town. I also continue to find it sad that some Americans continue to have a pompous attitude towards the world, even its closest Canadian neighbors. note: More great info on the new bridge at... http://buildthedricnow.com/
Lee Jacobsen November 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Vote no on 6. Maroun could buy off the state reps easy enough to block passage while Granholm was gov, but Snyder is looking out for the State of Michigan, and Marty can't buy his decision away like he did others in the past. Common sense tells us that trade with Canada is a good thing, and a new bridge downriver will do exactly that, increase trade and business in Michigan, and bring new jobs along with it. Why not add a rail line to the new bridge as well.? Snyder was brave enough to say it won't cost Michigan money, let's see him keep that promise. Of course, Obama made promises too, but at least Snyder has gotten Michigan on the right economic track, from billions in debt to a surplus, from a mess of SBT to something that attracts businesses and jobs to MI again. Snyder is a businessman, Obama was not. Result? USA trillions in debt. What is Romney? Many things to many folk, but all agree he is smart in business. He will figure out a way to make sure Canada pays for everything.....
cookiepro2 November 06, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I decided to vote no on this a long time ago, and am getting sick of the increasingly preoposterous mailings for this proposal, as well as the aimed-to-fool "survey" phone call ("What?!!, You're against people's choice?"). Don't be fooled, Vote NO on Proposal 6 tomorrow.
Cindy Wright November 06, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I had thought Canada was paying for all of the bridge? I can't support Michigan taxpayers forking out $550 million...we pay enough in taxes and we will not see a penny of that money back in our pockets. I was going to support the bridge but now,it looks like I'm going against it. Looks like I'm going to need more information but if we are expected to pay for this, I will not support our taxes going up...they're bad enough as it is and our people cannot take anymore.
Scot Beaton November 06, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Cindy... Great info on the bridge at... http://buildthedricnow.com/
John McKay (Editor) November 06, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Cindy: The League of Women Voters of Michigan has presented pro- and con- arguments for each state ballot proposal here: http://www.lwvmi.org/documents/LWVMIProCon11-12.pdf Read up and make an informed decision, whichever way you vote!
catherine clark November 08, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Maroun is sysidized by ALEC and the Koch Bros.


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