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  #41  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 1:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
It's bizarre that such an important (existing) bridge is privately owned.
Especially when it's by a slumlord.
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  #42  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 4:24 AM
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That's the risk.

It's a vital international and regional connection. And it's controlled by someone who cares about profit far more than about the region. I'm flabbergasted that this was allowed to happen.
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  #43  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 7:08 AM
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You do realize that the Ambassador was privately financed and developed when it was built way back in the 20's, right? It's not as if it recently fell into private hands.

The fight for this current private bridge expansion is stacking up eeriely to the fight waged back then. The difference, this time, is that I think the public is going to win. In the last go-around, the bridge financier and developer had lined up all of the local, state/provincial, and national governments save for the mayor of Detroit, who faught in tooth-and-nail, and lost. This go-around, the only support he may be able to garner is that of the Detroit mayor. lol

BTW, just so it's made clear, the Detroit-Windsor tunnel is publically owned and is car-only. The Ambassador, while anyone can cross it, makes most of its money off of international truck traffic.
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  #44  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 2:28 PM
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Does the guy who owns the Ambassador Bridge also own the land (for the bridge expansion) on the Canadian side?
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  #45  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 10:00 PM
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^ Yes, that's the problem. He has quietly been buying up the adjacent homes west of the bridge over the last decade. The houses have fallen into disrepair and are now empty but can't be demolished due to the city bylaw thus causing a huge feud between Moroun and the city.
All the land east of the bridge is owned by the University of Windsor.

The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel technically allows trucks and I've seen a rare few in it but it's definitely a tight squeeze for them. There's also the tunnel bus that goes back and forth.
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  #46  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 11:13 PM
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I think trucks are not allowed in the tunnel for fear of a terrorist attack.

I'm glad something is stopping a twin to the Ambassador bridge form being built. Windsor really needs a freeway leading to the Detroit River.
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  #47  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 2:49 AM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
You do realize that the Ambassador was privately financed and developed when it was built way back in the 20's, right? It's not as if it recently fell into private hands.
I didn't know that. But my point is exactly the same: crucial bridge owned by a guy...who can have many motives other than public good.
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  #48  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 3:21 AM
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The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel technically allows trucks and I've seen a rare few in it but it's definitely a tight squeeze for them. There's also the tunnel bus that goes back and forth.
You're right; I had a brain-fart. Though, trucks definitely prefer the bridge. It's crazy that they allow just about everything expect motorcycles.

And, what's this about Windsor bylaws that don't allow the demolition of the homes? I'd never heard of that.
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  #49  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 4:00 AM
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^ That's the only reason those homes are still standing. Windsor is preventing any demolition in the entire Sandwich neighbourhood claiming that it's a historic area that should be preserved. The homes adjacent to the bridge have no historic value at all but since they fall in the boundaries of Sandwich, they can't be demolished.

Everyone knows the bylaw was only made to prevent the twinned bridge - it's just a game the city is playing but it has the support of most city residents.

It has caused problems though...some people in the neighbourhood have applied to demolish their old garages but they can't even do that because of the bylaw.
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  #50  
Old Posted May 15, 2009, 4:44 AM
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I don't even know what to say. I'm actually more insulted by Matty than I've ever been, and that's a hard thing to do. The guy is utterly ammoral and shameless:

Quote:

Bridge owner sues, raises racial-bias argument

By TODD SPANGLER and JOHN GALLAGHER • FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF • May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON – The pitched battle over who gets to build a second bridge span crossing the Detroit River has landed in court, with the private owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge arguing that supporters of a proposed rival span are protecting a predominately white, middle-class neighborhood across the border in Windsor, Ontario, while sacrificing a neighborhood of poor Hispanics and blacks in southwest Detroit.
My god, what a shameless tool this man is.
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  #51  
Old Posted May 15, 2009, 2:51 PM
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^That coming from the one of the richest men in Detroit makes it even more ironic.
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  #52  
Old Posted May 15, 2009, 11:31 PM
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Yeah, because I'm sure he really cares about those people in Delray

The main reason the downriver bridge was selected is because it'll take trucks off Huron Church Rd (a city road lined with traffic lights) in Windsor and allow for the new bridge to be connected to a new highway on the Canadian side.

The article described Sandwich as middle-class but that's really stretching it. It's one of the poorer neighbourhoods in Windsor.
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  #53  
Old Posted May 16, 2009, 3:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Rathgrith View Post
^That coming from the one of the richest men in Detroit makes it even more ironic.
He's one of the wealthiest individuals in all of Michigan, in fact.
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  #54  
Old Posted May 16, 2009, 4:01 PM
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Bridge playing race card called "ludicrous"

The Windsor Star
May 16, 2009
By Dave Battagello

The Ambassador Bridge is playing the race card in a “ludicrous” attempt to derail construction of a new border crossing, Coun. Ron Jones said Friday.

Jones said the bridge’s attempt in a U.S. lawsuit to portray Sandwich Towne as a "white majority racial community” that received preferential treatment from government border crossing planners is misguided.

“The bridge company should do their research,” Jones said. “They are on their last leg and using everything they possibly can to win. They are shuffling chairs on the Titanic.”

The bridge company’s lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, says race and income discrimination is behind a binational government decision to locate the next Windsor-Detroit crossing in Brighton Beach and link with the underprivileged Delray section of Detroit instead of favouring the company’s twin span proposal in Sandwich.

“For (bridge president) Dan Stamper to play the race card in west Windsor is just ludicrous,” Jones said. “Obviously he has not been in west Windsor. I invite him to walk the streets with me. It’s the most diverse community in all of Windsor, and Windsor is the fourth most diverse community in all of Canada.”

The student body of Forster High School, just a stone’s throw from Moroun’s bridge entrance, speaks 54 languages and represents an even greater number of nationalities, a school official said Friday.

“I challenge (bridge executives) to meet me any day of the week and go through Forster,” Jones said. “I want to see if they have the courage to see what diversity is about.”

Dan Stamper said Delray residents are being sacrificed in favour of neighbourhoods in Sandwich.

“I don’t know how else you can look at it and say that’s not right,” he said.

A local dentist in Sandwich said bridge owner Matty Moroun’s attempt to drag race and income into the debate shows his desperation.

“He has exhausted all the arguments and is scraping the bottom of the barrel,” said Dr. Greg Hanaka. “He is trying to pit community against community. We don’t agree with his philosophy of race and economic barrier. To pull this final card out of the deck is an act of desperation.”

Hanaka said the billionaire businessman has engaged in a blockbusting strategy in Sandwich which belies his expression of concern for neighbourhood.

“There is a sense of irony he is supposedly so concerned about Delray, yet thinks nothing about Sandwich,” Hanaka said. “He has sent his minions in to damage our town for years and now he wants to be perceived as standing up for the little guy. It’s all bogus.”

West-end businesswoman Mary Ann Cuderman said she was not surprised at the lawsuit. “What it shows to me is (Moroun) is down to his last bag of tricks,” she said. “He must be getting pretty worried to go this far.”

The bakeshop owner said any racial or social labelling of either her community or Delray is “strictly off the wall.”

Michigan state Rep. Rashida Talib (D—Detroit), who represents both Delray and the Mexicantown neighbourhood where the twin span is proposed, said a majority of Delray residents supports a new crossing in the community.

“We still have to advocate for more with (the state government) but at least there are discussions,” Talib said. “(The bridge) offered one business owner t-shirts for baseball in exchange for a letter of support. That lacks integrity. Transparency is key here.”

http://www.windsorstar.com/Life/Brid...748/story.html

Last edited by LMich; May 17, 2009 at 4:33 AM.
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  #55  
Old Posted May 16, 2009, 4:12 PM
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Anything that would encourage the destruction of a historic landmark like the Ambassador Bridge would be a travesty. I sincerely hope it does not happen.

Ambassador may not be as famous as the Golden Gate or the Brooklyn, but it's still a historic structure. Losing it would be a sin and a tragedy.
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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Some bad news for Matty, good news for us

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090...394/1408/local

Coast Guard tells bridge company to halt work on second Detroit River span
Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

Detroit -- The United States Coast Guard today ordered the Detroit International Bridge Co. to halt work on building a second span of the Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River.
In its ruling, the Coast Guard suspended the bridge company's bridge permit application process for the second span because of a "doubt of the right of the builder to construct and utilize a bridge."
According to the Coast Guard, the "(bridge company) has yet to provide the Coast Guard with evidence that they have acquired the necessary property rights for Riverside Park from the city of Detroit to build the (bridge) as described in their bridge permit application."
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The Michigan Department of Transportation also has advised the Coast Guard that the bridge company is not carrying out its part in the massive Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project, which is currently under construction.
The Coast Guard said that the bridge company's evaluation process must be halted until the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard.
Grosse Pointe billionaire Manuel (Matty) Moroun, owner of the bridge company, has been in a protracted battle with the Canadian and U.S. governments over their plans to build a public owned bridge that would be built a few miles down stream from the Ambassador Bridge.

The bridge company recently filed a lawsuit against the proposed span, saying it would take up to 75 percent of the commercial traffic currently utilizing the Ambassador Bridge. The lawsuit also said the joint Canadian/U.S. venture would require the removal of hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses in southwestern Detroit.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 9:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
Anything that would encourage the destruction of a historic landmark like the Ambassador Bridge would be a travesty. I sincerely hope it does not happen.

Ambassador may not be as famous as the Golden Gate or the Brooklyn, but it's still a historic structure. Losing it would be a sin and a tragedy.

Umm, no one has mentioned tearing the Ambassador down.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 9:34 PM
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The Canadian government is looking into funding for the completion of Highway 401 from east Windsor down to where this bridge is to be built, so I hope the plans include the completion of a bridge in the near future.
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  #59  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2009, 3:25 AM
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Quote:
AMERICAS NEWS
JUNE 18, 2009
Dispute Stalls Plan for Canada Crossing
By ANDREW GROSSMAN and KATE LINEBAUGH

DETROIT -- Efforts to improve traffic flow at a key U.S. border crossing are bogging down in legal battles between the U.S. and Canadian governments and the billionaire who owns the 80-year-old bridge spanning the Detroit River.

Last year, 2.89 million trucks rumbled across the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, carrying goods that make up more than a quarter of the nearly $600 billion in annual trade between the U.S. and Canada. In addition, 4.45 million cars crossed the span. For each one of those vehicles, trucking magnate Manuel Moroun and his Detroit International Bridge Co. collect tolls.

The bridge is a critical link in the supply chain that connects auto-component factories with assembly plants on both sides of the border. But trucks routinely line up for hours to get across, with backups that stretch miles into Canada.

Last year, after protracted cross-border discussions, the U.S. and Canadian governments settled on plans for a new, publicly owned bridge that would be located less than two miles south of the existing bridge. The governments, along with some influential business groups like the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, say the second bridge is needed to accommodate increased traffic and allay security concerns raised after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Mr. Moroun's company concedes that the Ambassador Bridge is in need of repair, but he would like to be the one to build and own its replacement.

In recent weeks, Mr. Moroun's company has filed multiple lawsuits seeking to block the publicly funded bridge, while also moving ahead with its own proposal to expand the Ambassador Bridge by adding a second, parallel span.

Last month, Detroit International Bridge sued the Federal Highway Administration in federal court to stop the public bridge-building project. And this week, it sued the Michigan Department of Transportation in a Michigan circuit court in an attempt to block it. The lawsuits argue that the projections of increased traffic are exaggerated and that a second bridge would effectively drive the Ambassador out of business. The FHA and Michigan DOT don't comment on ongoing lawsuits, but both agencies have said two crossings are necessary.

Dan Stamper, president of Detroit International Bridge, says the company has already invested more than $500 million in its expansion project, based on discussions in the early 1990s with the Michigan DOT and the city of Detroit that he says endorsed the expansion of the Ambassador Bridge because of its age.

Mr. Moroun took over full ownership of the bridge in 1979 after buying out investor Warren Buffett's stake. By then, he had already built a fortune in the trucking business. Many of his companies, which are concentrated in transportation, are based in an unmarked former elementary school in the Detroit suburb of Warren.

The disputes leave the fate of both planned crossings in doubt. Both still need approval from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Canadian transport ministry, the Canadian cabinet and U.S. President Barack Obama. Officials working on the publicly owned bridge say they hope to start construction next year, but they would need to get a series of laws through the Michigan Legislature and win their court battles with Detroit International Bridge.

Mr. Moroun's company has already begun building the approach to the twin Ambassador span, but the project faces obstacles of its own. On Monday, the Coast Guard said it is putting its review of the bridge expansion on hold until the legal disputes are resolved.

The Canadian government, which strongly favors the new publicly owned bridge project, says it has been waiting for 18 months for Mr. Moroun's company to show how it would fix "adverse community impacts" caused by the expansion of its bridge. For example, the city of Windsor -- across the river, just south of Detroit -- is worried about more truck traffic going through residential neighborhoods and the absence of space to build an inspection plaza.

"There has been a great marketing campaign by the Ambassador Bridge to assume the inevitability that twinning is going to happen," said Brian Masse, a Canadian parliamentarian representing Windsor. But "they have barely even begun the process on the Canadian side."

Mr. Stamper, however, said that based on the legislation and permits in place in 1927 when construction on the Ambassador Bridge began, his company doesn't require any further permission to build. "I don't see any issue of completing the bridge on either side," Mr. Stamper said in an interview. "We believe we have clearance both in Canada and the U.S."

Write to Andrew Grossman at andrew.grossman@wsj.com and Kate Linebaugh at kate.linebaugh@wsj.com
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1245...myyahoo_module
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  #60  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2009, 5:36 AM
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Umm, no one has mentioned tearing the Ambassador down.
No, but it's been implied. The owner would have absolutely no use for the old bridge, and has stated that it'd be immediately shut down upon the completion of the new section, and only used for "overflow" traffic on heavy days. But, everyone knows that what's being sold as a "twinning" and "enhancement" is actually a replacement bridge.

If Matty gets his way, the Ambassador will go the way of the other properties he owns in Southwest Detroit: he'll neglect it for years until it almost has to be demolished. It's demolition by neglect and no one has done it better and more overtly than he has.
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