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An illustration of the proposed New International Trade Crossing.

The owner of the Ambassador Bridge lost big on election night in his attempt to throw a roadblock in front of a new Detroit River crossing. But even before all the ballots were counted, Manuel (Matty) Mouron was already signalling he would keep fighting to stop the second span.

The controversial businessman sponsored a ballot measure that would have required a statewide vote in Michigan before any new international crossing goes ahead. The public trounced it on Tuesday, voting 60 per cent against. But there were no concession speeches from Mr. Mouron – just a blast from his company that the proposed $4-billion New International Trade Crossing is a "flawed government bridge."

"If the governmental proposal doesn't collapse from the weight of legal and congressional scrutiny, the NITC will never be built over unstable salt mine foundations, where land speculators are lining up to get rich on the government's tab," Mickey Blashfield, one of Mr. Moroun's key lieutenants, said in a statement Wednesday. (There are salt mines in Windsor, Ont., near the site of approaches to the proposed bridge.)

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The broad hint from Mr. Blashfield is that there will be more court challenges, more lobbying in Washington and challenges about the safety of any new bridge that would provide an alternative to the 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge.

So goes the saga of the world's busiest and most valuable international border crossing, a critical trade artery that has needed an angioplasty or a bypass for more than a decade, but is still clogged as Mr. Moroun doggedly battles any attempt to build a competing bridge that would break his monopoly. About $120-billion worth of goods cross the Ambassador Bridge annually.

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About the Author
Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More


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