STAFF WRITER – The Ontario Construction Report
Canada should consider buying the privately owned, 87-year-old Ambassador Bridge which connects Windsor and Detroit, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. quotes the man tasked with building the new $4 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge as saying.
Dwight Duncan, chairman of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), says Ottawa should also own what is one of the busiest land border crossings in North America, CBC reports.
Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun has battled the new Canadian funded project from the start, with ongoing court and political battles to preserve his private company’s monopoly over the Windsor/Detroit crossing. This monopoly will end once the new bridge opens.
In a meeting with Ambassador Bridge ownership, Duncan recommended “the federal government investigate buying the competing Ambassador Bridge” and that he “recommended to the government of Canada that it’s worth further discussions,” WDBA spokeswoman Heather Grondin wrote in an email, CBC reports.
The broadcast report says neither Duncan nor the bridge authority said how much the bridge might be worth or how much Ottawa should spend on the span.
Duncan, at the request of the Government of Canada, was asked to respond to an email sent from Moroun’s son, Matthew Moroun, first sent to the Toronto Star and then other members of the media earlier this year.
According to the CBC report:
• Matthew Moroun, vice chair of CenTra Inc., the parent company of the Ambassador Bridge, said back then that the company wants to take a ‘fresh approach to fix old problems.
• According to the email, after a decade spent ‘fighting unproductively’ with the Conservative government and Stephen Harper, the Ambassador Bridge Company wants to take advantage of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attitude of change.
• This Windsor-Detroit border can be a shining example of efficiency and co-operation. I’m inspired by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desire to take a new look and a fresh approach to fix old problems, Moroun wrote. “This situation is just such a problem.
I’m ready to do the same.”
Duncan has recommended that further discussions could begin, CBC reported. That decision will have to be made by the Government of Canada.