Moroun gives $31M to campaign restricting bridges

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun has donated $31.3 million to a Nov. 6 ballot issue seeking to block a competing bridge between Michigan and Ontario, according to new campaign finance reports.

Reports filed Friday with the Michigan Department of State show that at least $105 million was spent on campaigns for or against five proposed Michigan constitutional amendments, The Detroit News said.
“There’s never been anything like this before, not even remotely like that,” said Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Proposal 6 would require a public vote before construction of any new tunnel or bridge to Canada. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder supports plans for a Canadian-financed public bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Moroun seeks to add a span to his own private bridge.

The Moroun-backed group promoting the proposal had raised $31.3 million and had spent $20.4 million through Oct. 21, it reported. A group opposing Proposal 6 said it raised $914,000 and spent $87,000.
“This is a principle issue with the Moroun family. They bought this (bridge) in good faith, paid a fair price for it and somebody wants to take it away from them,” said Detroit International Bridge Co. President Dan Stamper.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rich Studley, whose group opposes Proposal 6, said Moroun’s spending “may have crossed that line between enough and too much” and could backfire on him.

Supporters of Proposal 2, a union-backed plan to write collective bargaining rights into the Michigan Constitution, reported raising $21.6 million through Oct. 21, while opponents reported raising $26.2 million.
Another issue seeing big campaign spending was Proposal 3, which sets minimum levels of renewal energy use by the state’s utilities. Environmentalists supporting the proposal said they raised $12.9 million, while utilities and other business interests opposing it reported raising $22.8 million.
 

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