editorial: MLive Media Group: Vote no on Michigan's Proposal 6 to boost Michigan's economy, block billionaire's power grab
AnnArbor.com file photo
Billed as the democratic-sounding “People Should Decide” proposal, supporters say a yes vote will give you a voice in whether a new Detroit-Windsor bridge is built with public dollars.
We wonder if a ballot measure has ever been so cynically named, because Proposal 6 isn’t about democracy at all. It’s about protecting the monopoly of Matty Moroun, owner of the Ambassador Bridge, at the expense of Michigan’s economic interests.
Yes, advertisements about the supposed costs to Michigan taxpayers of the New International Trade Crossing have been compelling. They have also, according to the non-partisan Michigan Truth Squad, ranged from flagrant misrepresentations to all-out lies.
So let’s put aside the images of teachers and other ordinary folk claiming to be concerned about “real people” and look at three crucial reasons this proposal should be defeated.
The proposed bridge is critical to Michigan’s economic future
The 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge carries 25 percent of all U.S.-Canada trade, but its location is inefficient for commercial vehicles. A new bridge that connects directly with Ontario’s 401 highway would be good for business and is vital to our economic future.
The bomb threats and resulting closures of the Ambassador Bridge over the summer underscored the need for a second commercial crossing. The reliance of major manufacturers on “just-in-time” delivery means the smallest delays can result in plant shutdowns. For that reason, Bill Ford and other automakers support the new bridge, along with chambers of commerce across the state, agri-business groups and four previous governors. There isn’t a business group in the state that opposes a new bridge.
The NITC is a great deal for Michigan
Bridge opponents question whether the bridge really won’t cost Michigan taxpayers a dime. This argument is disingenuous. The interlocal agreement that Gov. Rick Snyder signed with Canada stipulates that Canada will front the entire cost of building the bridge, and federal grants will cover other costs. According to Snyder, Canada is also responsible for any potential cost overruns.
Proposal 6 backers — the Morouns — want you to believe Canada might back out, leaving Michigan taxpayers to foot the bill. Canadian officials take great offense to that notion.
“The government of Canada does not renege and does not lie to the people of Michigan,” Roy Norton, Canada’s consulate general in Detroit, told Crain’s Detroit Business. Passing on this deal doesn’t mean Michigan will have more money for police and teachers. It just means we won’t get a free bridge.
The Michigan Constitution is not for sale
If you are wavering on this proposal, stop and ask yourself, “Who is supporting Proposal 6 and why?”
Moroun has dumped at least $31.3 million into his Proposal 6 campaign, according to campaign finance reports. The Detroit News reported he has spent another $9.3 million in TV ads over the past two years railing against Snyder's bridge plan, bringing the billionaire trucking mogul's running tab to $40.6 million in documented spending as of earlier this week. The governor doesn’t have that kind of money to counter the misleading advertisements.
Do you really think the Morouns are spending millions of their own dollars because they want you to have a voice in the process?
If so, we have our own bridge to sell you.
This endorsement is the opinion of the editorial board of MLive Media Group, the parent company of MLive.com. The board is made up of the company's executive leadership, content directors and editors who oversee the 10 local markets that make up MLive Media Group.