Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The battle of the bridge

The Free Press finally takes a look at the struggle to replace the Ambassador Bridge.

On one side is Matty Moroun, the billionaire trucking magnate and current owner of the Ambassador Bridge as well as Detroit's most famous ruin, the Michigan Central Depot. Moroun, who is widely reviled in Southwest Detroit for his indifference to the community, wants to close the Ambassador Bridge and build a new six-lane bridge directly beside it. An alternative proposal is being studied by the Canadian, American, Michigan, and Ontario governments. That proposal calls for a government-operated bridge to be built a mile downriver from the Ambassador.

The latter is clearly the better choice. Although some Michigan officials like the idea of Moroun covering the costs of a new bridge, it's crazy to continue to let the most important economic crossing in the United States be controlled by one reclusive billionaire, especially when his plan will further jeopardize the neighborhoods on either side of the bridge and doing nothing to limit security risks.

For a better idea of what's at stake, see Forbes' profile of Moroun, The Troll Under the Bridge. This is a critical issue that needs more public discussion.

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