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A Double Crossing From Canada to Detroit?

A Double Crossing From Canada to Detroit?
Photograph by Leon Halip/Getty Images

When Rick Snyder took office as governor of Michigan in 2011, he had an ambitious plan to revive the state’s troubled economy. Among his goals was to build a new bridge connecting Detroit to Canada. But the former businessman who calls himself “one tough nerd” came up against a billionaire who’s just plain tough: Matty Moroun, the owner of the 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Canada, the busiest commercial crossing in North America. (I wrote about Moroun in May in Bloomberg Businessweek.)

Moroun, whose company collects about $156,000 in tolls each day, fought in the courts, lobbied politicians, and spent millions on an advertising campaign to thwart Snyder’s proposal. Last fall, the Michigan Senate Economic Development Committee decided not even to bring the plan to the full Legislature for a vote. Now Snyder and the Canadian government have come to terms and later today will announce a deal to build what’s been called the New International Trade Crossing. The bridge “is vital to protecting Michigan’s jobs and $70-billion-a-year trade with Canada,” Snyder posted on his Facebook page earlier today. “The best part of the agreement is that the bridge will create thousands of new jobs … and it won’t cost Michigan taxpayers one penny.”