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Voters Reject Delay on Border Bridge

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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Owners of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge have lost their last well-funded gambit to block construction of a competing North American border crossing, as Michigan's voters rejected a delay in the plans Tuesday.

Voters gave a decisive thumbs down to Proposition 6, a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have delayed or blocked the planned New International Trade Crossing bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The controversial ballot measure would have restricted the state government's ability to build international bridges and tunnels by requiring approval from a majority of voters statewide and in each municipality where the international bridges and tunnels would be located.

The proposition was linked to the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) bridge over the Detroit River.

As of Wednesday (Nov. 7) morning, 94 percent of the state's precincts had reported, and the proposition failed 60 percent to 40 percent, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Michigan DOT

Voters shut down Prop 6, which would have greatly delayed construction on a new bridge to connect Detroit and Windsor.

Bridge Drama

Canada agreed to be responsible for the design, construction, finance, operation, and maintenance of the bridge. The agreement states that Michigan will not be obligated to pay any of the costs of the NITC.

In June, the Michigan State Transportation Commission unanimously approved Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to build the bridge, noting that the project would create 10,000 immediate jobs; 30,000 jobs during construction; and 25,000 long-term jobs.

Sounds great, unless you're the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which already connects Detroit and Windsor.

The Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge, reportedly spent $33 million on Proposition 6—the most ever spent in the state by one side on a statewide ballot initiative.

Despite the large financial effort, Proposition 6 failed, and an EPIC-MRA poll of actual voters showed that the proposition was losing among most demographics.

ambassadorbridge.com

Prop 6 was funded by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, which already carries traffic over the Detroit River.

Across the Country

Eight other states had ballot propositions that could potentially shore up billions of dollars for bridges, highways, water and wastewater facilities, and other infrastructure.

The following is a state-by-state breakdown of how America voted for these propositions.

Alaska: Bonding Proposition A, a measure to approve $453 million in bonds for transportation projects throughout the state, passed 117,510 to 90,219. The Port of Anchorage is expected to receive $50 million from the measure for expansion. The port, which receives an estimated 90 percent of Alaska's imports, has been plagued by construction issues, Anchorage Daily News said.

Arizona: Proposition 204 asked voters to permanently increase the state's sales tax to 6.6 percent, instead of allowing it to decrease to 5.6 percent in 2013. Arizona voters rejected the initiative.

The tax increase was anticipated to generate at least $1 billion annually. Out of the first $1 billion generated, $100 million would have gone to the state infrastructure fund.

Arkansas: Voters approved raising the sales tax from 6 percent to 6.5 percent to fund $1.8 billion in transportation projects over the next decade.

Part of the funding will expand portions of two Interstates from four lanes to six.

Hawaii: Hawaiians approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds to assist dam and reservoir owners in making their facilities compliant with current safety standards. The legislation passed 212,395 to 175,952.

Maine: The Portland Press Herald reported early Wednesday (Nov. 7) morning that Question 4 passed with 73 percent of votes in favor of a $51.5 million bond that includes $41 million for highways and bridges.

Voters also passed Question 5 to authorize $7.9 million in bonds for revolving loan funds for drinking water systems and wastewater facilities.

Oklahoma: Voters passed State Question 764 to create a $300 million bonding authority for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Any bonds issued will provide a reserve fund for the board for certain water resource and sewage treatment funding programs.

Rhode Island: A 270,705 to 95,994 vote approved Question 5, which authorizes the state to issue up to $12 million in bonds and temporary notes to finance wastewater infrastructure projects.

South Dakota: Late Tuesday (Nov. 6) night, poll results indicated that Referred Law 14 would be rejected. The referred law would have transferred 22 percent of contractors' excise tax revenues from the state general fund to the Large Project Development Fund.

   

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