Friday, April 30, 2010

Owner of bridge scared of competition?

Sure looks that way:
Ottawa wants to lend $550-million (U.S.) to Michigan as the Canadian government seeks support for building a new bridge along the continent’s busiest commercial corridor, offering to help bail out a state ravaged by the auto sector’s slump.

Federal Transport Minister John Baird said Thursday that Ottawa is extending a lifeline to Michigan to jump-start the $5.3-billion megaproject called the Detroit River International Crossing, or DRIC.

But Patrick Moran, corporate counsel for Manuel (Matty) Moroun, the 82-year-old transport tycoon who owns the Ambassador Bridge that spans the Detroit River, said Canada is taking advantage of cash-strapped Michigan’s dire financial straits.

“Our state doesn’t have two nickels to rub together and we have crumbling roads all over, and yet our state is getting involved in building a new bridge,” Mr. Moran said in an interview. “Michigan is hard up for cash.”

The economic stakes are high – persistent bottlenecks on the Ambassador Bridge threaten to stall billions of dollars annually in trade. But Mr. Moran accused Canada of encroaching on Michigan's turf, warning that Ottawa will favour Canadians over Michigan residents for bridge construction jobs, and hundreds of Detroit homes are in line to be bulldozed to clear the way for the new Detroit-Windsor bridge.

He said Michigan shouldn’t be “selling out” its border to Canada when Mr. Moroun is willing to privately finance his own second span without dipping into the pockets of Canadian taxpayers.

From the Globe. Gee, do you think he might be worried about not collecting as much in the way of tolls? I'd think it would be better not to have both bridges owned by the same guy, no?

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