Tied up in traffic at Detroit-Windsor? Blame the Kochs.
Turns out our friends David and Charles Koch are backers of the troll under the Ambassador Bridge who's blocking plans for a second bridge to erase, for instance, the 5.2 million hours in delays each year for trucks at the crossing.
It's not enough for billionaire Manuel "Matty" Maroun, 84, to buy off legislators in Lansing to the tune of $565,000 in last year's election cycle, so they'll oppose Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's proposal for a second bridge. Maroun also enlisted the help of the Kochs, who, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "bankrolled a public-relations campaign against the proposed [second] bridge," presumably because it would be state-owned. That campaign included mass mailings to Michigan voters opposing the proposed New International Trade Crossing.
For good measure, Matty has also taken on as an advisor in this campaign to impede the $1 trillion in trade between the U.S. and Canada one Dick Morris, the G.O.P.-Dem-G.O.P strategist and Fox yoink remembered by those of us at the 1996 DNC in Chicago chiefly for interrupting the convention with news that he had, and had acted upon, a foot fetish with a woman other than his wife.
Truth is, no one really cares whether a second crossing is privately or publicly owned, we just want to end the bottleneck at the busiest crossing between our two countries. A crossing that 8 million U.S. jobs rely on, reason enough to bulldoze this nuisance into the Detroit River. It's gridlock that is costing Ford Motor Co., to pick just one example, $13.7 million in lost productivity; and far more lost revenue from Southern Ontarians cold to the casino and other charms of a cash-starved Detroit.
Just because Ottawa has offered to lend the Wolverine State $550 million to build the connector roads to a new bridge doesn't mean it insists on owning the thing. We'd happily take equity in the new bridge in place of a loan, and prmptly sell it to mutual fund, insurance company, the University of Michigan endowment fund or any number of private-sector investors. We've read our Robert Moses. We know that toll bridges with their minimal maintenance costs and guaranteed cash flow are gold mines, and that we'd turn a handsome profit on selling our stake.
But just so we have this straight, an octogenarian most people rightly have never heard of is defying the will of a Republican U.S. governor, a G8 nation's federal government, the U.S.-owned auto industry, and the 7 million vehicle drivers that cross the aging Ambassador Bridge each year.
And we're letting him. Guess who that makes me mad at. It's not Matty, that's for sure.
Canada and U.S. spar over Obama's "Buy Canada" stimulus provision. (Diane Brady, BBW)