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Governor Snyder, Ambassador Bridge owners duel over Proposal 6, new bridge

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is focused on the Michigan ballot with two weeks to go before Election Day.

On Monday, Snyder appeared alongside Canadian consul general Roy Norton at a Canada-United States Business Association meeting town hall in Detroit.

Both men asked Michigan and Canadian business leaders to support the proposed New International Trade Crossing. And both urged a “no” vote on Proposal 6, which would require a statewide referendum on any new international crossings. He says he’s in “campaign mode.”

“I’m going to continue taking that message out to the public, because I believe they deserve to know and have better guidance than a bunch of misleading ads from the ‘Yes on 6’ people,” Snyder said.

The company that owns the Ambassador Bridge is also pushing its case for Proposal 6 — and against a new international bridge.

The Detroit International Bridge Company is behind Proposal 6, spending millions on campaign ads calling the NITC a costly boondoggle that voters should get a chance to weigh in on.

Bridge Company President Dan Stamper held a press conference at the same Detroit hotel as Snyder’s town hall to bash the new bridge.

Stamper said a proposed new Canadian law—one that would exempt the bridge from nearly all laws and lawsuits in Canada—is another example of how the project is “fatally flawed.”

“The bridge can’t even sustain itself with current laws,” Stamper said. “So waivers and new laws have to be passed to allow it to happen.”

Snyder and Canadian officials fire back that Proposal 6 is a ploy to protect the Bridge Company’s monopoly, and the proposed legal exemption is driven in large part by the need to avoid attempts to derail it through the courts.

In the past, Snyder and Canadian officials have said the NITC would be legally insulated from a “yes” vote on Proposal 6. But they’re still worried it could spawn more litigation that would tie the project down for years.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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