Delray seems even tougher these days, but tonight they beat a billionaire and his scorched-earth political thuggery and that’s a win for all of us. The Michigan House of Representatives overcame the Ambassador Bridge billionaire owner’s astroturf organizing, money and political stooges and approved the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), a project for Delray that makes sense to nearly everyone but the owners of the Ambassador Bridge and their hired support.
A new bridge from Delray to Canada will create 10,000 jobs, improve border security and end a monopoly that dates to 1926 when Michigan Senator James Couzins decided that instead of a publicly owned bridge to Canada, he got a bill passed to build one for a private owner.
The legislation approved tonight would help Delray deal with the impacts of added diesel pollution and relocation of local residents and businesses that would result from the DRIC. For years Delray has had to put up with the insults and indifference of the Ambassador Bridge owners so instead of saying Not in My Backyard to the DRIC, the residents of Delray welcomed the idea of a new bridge as long as it meant benefits for the community.
There’s nothing like the threat of competition to get monopolies to put on a full court press, and that’s what the bridge owners did to try and defeat the new bridge in the state House. They brought paid “grassroots” lobbyists to Lansing, had slick suits slapping lawmakers’ backs and, when that looked like it wasn’t working, they just lied.
Although no one really knows why, the local state Representative, Rashida Tlaib, had all four of her tires slashed after she gave an impassioned, truth-telling speech to her colleagues about the intense pressure the Ambassador Bridge owners were putting on House members, particularly Detroit Democrats.
None of it ultimately worked tonight and the House passed the Detroit River International Crossing bill. But the Senate is another story. The bridge owner, Matty Maroun, is a major GOP political contributor, and his money also finds its way to some Democrats.
But tonight little Delray and their friends in labor and business beat a billionaire bully and whether the view is from a cab or a condo the world is looking a little sweeter for it.
We thank Progress Michigan for sharing this article, which also appears on their website.