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March 03, 2010


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Jack Lessenberry has chronicled the sleazy history of Matty Moroun for years. I can't argue with the Lessenberry considered wisdom on the subject of Moroun and his bridge company.

Another bridge, with competing ownership, aprat from Moroun, at another non-Moroun location, would seem to make all kinds of sense to me. As it does to Jack Lessenberry.

But as we say goodbye to a Second Matty Moroun Bridge to Canada, it strikes me as significant that this was a guy who was willing to invest his own money, with a considerable additional payment to the State of Michigan to boot, to build his own bridge. It just seems to me that there's nothing wrong with private bridges and tunnels, especially if there are several of them. If there were five bridge-builders who all wanted to build international bridges between Detroit and Windsor, I'd be happy to let them all have a go at construction. And if one of those builders were Matty Moroun, I'd say fine to him too. Have at it, Matty.

It is the competitive market that produces better goods and services, and a public-sector monopoly is not much more attractive to me than a Matty Moroun monopoly. Worse, even; Matty Moroun says he doesn't need my tax dollars to build his (second) bridge. If so, that's got him one-up (perhaps) on the State of Michigan.

Anyway, here's to private funding for a new, second bridge...

If only life was as simple as Jack thinks.

Let's assume Matty has been stopped, an assumption one ought not to make so quickly. Does that mean a DRIC bridge will be built?

Nope, remember there are all kinds of lawsuits out there already that will have to be litigated including one that could stop MDOT cold.

Canada tried once before to beat Moroun over Bridge ownership and was forced to settle. What has changed since then to improve Canada's position?

A new bridge may NOT be needed until as late as 2035-40 according to MDOT's Algurabi at the hearings of Senator Cropsey. So why would money be spent at a time when the US and Michigan are in deep debt? Michigan already cannot pay for hundreds of road and bridge projects'

Moreover, traffic is now below 1999 levels.

The Ambassador Bridge would still be competing for traffic so who would invest in bonds that might never be repaid since tolls at the new bridge would have to be several times higher than Moroun's to pay back the billions involved. The traffic would stay at the old bridge and the new one would go broke. Or would Michigan taxpayers have to subsidize the DRIC bridge operations?

Of course there is no P3 legislation in Michigan and the MDOT traffic report has problems since it does not meet the statutory requirement.

Canada's secret mandate letter issued last X-mas to buy the Ambassador Bridge proves that Canada has NO intention and never did to build a DRIC Bridge but wants Matty's bridge and to build a second bridge there. DRIC was just a smokescreen to get Moroun to sell cheaply.

What we have Jack is a stalemate right now. It can only be resolved by the Governments and Moroun sitting down and honestly trying to negotiate a resolution of the border war or we will be in this mess for decades.

We have lost already the period from late 2002 until today because of this silly bickering.

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