According to the Detroit News, organizers of a ballot proposal that seeks to require voter approval for any future international crossings announced they have collected more than 420,000 signatures to put the initiative before Michigan voters in November.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, unable to get a funding measure passed by the state legislature, recently announced a deal reached with Canada that will see our northern neighbors pay for the U.S. share of construction costs, in exchange for future toll revenues.
Supporters say a new direct connection between I-75 in Michigan and Highway 401 in Canada will ease traffic congestion at the border and allow trucks to bypass residential communities. The existing, privately owned Ambassador Bridge at the Detroit-Windsor crossing is the No. 1 traffic bottleneck in the entire Pan-American Freeway system, they say.
The opposition group, "The People Should Decide," says on its website, "We believe our fellow Michigan residents have the right to hear the arguments from both sides of the debate about a new, government funded international crossing and to actually vote on the issue. The truth is that Michigan taxpayer money has already been spent on activities directly related to building a government bridge. This is in spite of the fact that the Michigan legislature has voted against a government bridge on six separate occasions, under two different governors, Governors Granholm and Snyder."
The group, which needs more than 322,609 valid signatures, must submit its collected petitions to the Secretary of State's office in Lansing by July 9 and the proper number of signatures must be validated to get the issue on the November general election ballot. The petition drive is to require voter approval for any future international crossings, including bridge, truck and passenger car tunnels, as well as train tunnels.
According to published reports, Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun underwrote the ballot campaign.
There also may be a legal challenge in the works from Maroun. Wayne State University law professor Robert Sedler believes the bridge agreement is unconstitutional. In a guest opinion column that appeared in Friday's Detroit Free Press, Sedler said Snyder ignored Michigan law when he signed the agreement. Sedler is on retainer to the company that owns the Ambassador Bridge, according to published reports.
6/18/2012 Bridge Deal Reached for New Windsor-Detroit Border Crossing