Ambassador Bridge billboard (continued)

Since early September the company has used a large billboard at the entrance to the bridge off Huron Church Rd. to inform motorists that it makes economic sense for the bridge to be allowed to build a second span.

“4000 New Jobs for Detroit and Windsor NOW!” the billboard says. “Paid for with our $$$$ NOT your Federal, State or Provincial tax $$$$.”

The billboard has a drawing of the bridge with the slogan Building a Better Border, and a tagline, “Keep our commitments with the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project happening today. We have invested $$$ MILLIONS $$$.”

The city received $34 million from the federal government for almost 100 acres of city-owned industrial property in the Brighton Beach area, where a new Customs plaza and access ramps to a new bridge to Detroit will be built.

But it has also been negotiating with the province over the sale of its properties along the highway route that will connect to the plaza and bridge.

Francis said the same team of city negotiators that completed the federal deal, ”sat down with the province to have discussions with them as it relates” to the parkway lands.

Asked about the billboard, bridge spokesman Phil Frame said, “We just want to try every possible way to get the word out.” He said a new span is an investment “that doesn’t require tax dollars to fund and the project itself would provide a pretty good economic boost to Ontario, Windsor and Michigan.”

Frame said the company is also planning a similar billboard campaign on the U.S. side. “We don’t have any yet but we are in the planning stages of doing that.”

The bridge still requires permits from both Canadian and U.S authorities before a second span can be built. As well, the Ontario, Michigan, federal Canadian and U.S. governments are backing a new public bridge south of the Ambassador Bridge.

There has been public opposition on the Canadian side to bridge expansion plans.

Frame said that it makes more sense for the bridge to be given the go-ahead because of the poor economy on both sides of the river. “The state of our economy is such right now that both countries, cities, could use some jobs.”

He added that Michigan’s tax coffers “are not full” and the federal government “is something like $1.4 trillion in debt. So it’s not like tax dollars are readily available to fund a project like this.”

Asked if the company would prefer if the public bridge not be constructed Frame said he didn’t “know if our opinion of that is relevant.”

He said it “looks like” the Michigan legislature “is backing off on it this budget cycle, and there’s some people in state government, they’re not sure how they’re going to fund that” so it could be “many years down the road” before money is available.

The bridge wants to build a new six-lane span to replace the existing four-lane span which is 80 years old.

Windsor Ontario News