Michigan governor battles bridge special interest
Rick Snyder says Matty Moroun's millions tough to compete against
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said he finds it very difficult for he and his government to publicly compete against Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun.
The two are engaged in a public relations war over the construction of a new international crossing between Windsor and Detroit.
Snyder is attempting to get his government to pass legislation that would allow a bridge to be built between Brighton Beach and Detroit.
Moroun is spending millions in an add campaign to convince Michiganders and their political representatives to oppose a new span.
Snyder calls ads 'misleading, confusing'
"Every time I turn on the TV I get to see people talking about me building a monument to myself. That’s not the point. It’s about job creation," Snyder said of one television ad. Snyder called Moroun's campaign "a case study of the application of special interest."
He called the ads misleading and said they confuse politicians and citizens alike.
"This is an illustration of what one special interest can do that’s not in the best interest of the citizens of the state," Snyder said.
The governor said the topic of a new international crossing between Windsor and Detroit dominates his conversations and engagements on both sides of the border.
"Every day in Michigan, there is a discussion going on," Snyder said.
Snyder was in Ottawa this week speaking at an innovation conference. But, he made time to discuss a new international crossing with the Ministry of Transportation.
"It’s a good opportunity because it’s a good chance to talk to people from the transport ministry about ... things we can do to move ahead even faster once we get approval to do the bridge on the Michigan side," Snyder said.
Last month, a senate committee voted down a bill that would have increased the chances of a new international crossing being built between Brighton Beach on the Canadian side and Detroit.
Snyder called the vote "a setback."
Wednesday, the governor all but guaranteed a new bridge will be built during his current term.
"I’m still very bullish, proactive, this is the right thing to do," Snyder said. We need to get it done. I want to get it done in a matter of months, not a matter of years."
Snyder said he hoped Michigan government approval will come in spring 2012.
"This bridge topic has been a discussion point for almost 10 years. It’s time to stop talking and to start acting," he said.
High-speed rail also on governor's agenda
Snyder is also pushing for a high-speed rail link between Montreal and Chicago.
"High-speed rail is an important economic opportunity," Snyder said. "My key point (that I‘d like to discuss with the Canadian government is that I don’t want to stop in Detroit."
A recent report commissioned by the Canadian and Ontario governments said high-speed rail between Toronto and Windsor is not viable.
But Snyder said the corridor between Montreal and Chicago accounts for one third of the North American economy. He wants high-speed freight and passenger service in the corridor.
"Canadians have a strong interest and strong partner at the border," Snyder said.