LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan Senate panel has failed to approve a bill authorizing a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
The Senate Economic Development Committee voted on the measure Thursday after a one-day delay.
Two Republicans supported the measure and three opposed it. Democrats abstained from voting after complaining the bill didn’t do enough to protect residents in Delray, the area od southwest Detroit that be affected by the new span. Some in that neighborhood have protested the project.
It’s unclear if the measure now will be moved and taken up in a separate Senate committee where it might have a better chance of passage.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder says the New International Trade Crossing is “critically important” to expanding trade. He said it would bring new jobs to the state and would not be paid for with taxpayer’s money.
The private owners of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit oppose a second bridge, saying a publicly supported span across the Detroit River would unfairly compete with their own.
Speaking with WWJ Newsradio 950 on Thursday, Ambassador Bridge Vice Chair Matt Maroun said this latest defeat shows there is no need for that second span.
“The Michigan Department of Transportion that was mostly responsible for pushing a government bridge, they had a bad case to make,” said Maroun. “Traffic’s been down and down a lot for a long time.”
“They didn’t produce any financial projections that proved that the government bridge could make money,” he added.
Maroun says the Ambassador Bridge Company will go ahead with plans to build a second bridge alongside the current bridge, using private funding.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.