Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Matty Moroun's Tunnel bid off table Previous Next
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 61
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 198.103.184.76
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 4:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tunnel-Bridge monopoly a no-go. Really, this is the best thing for Detriot and Windsor. The article below is from today's Windsor Star.


Tunnel bid off table

Dave Battagello, Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, December 10, 2005

A $30-million US takeover of the Windsor-Detroit tunnel by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun has been pulled off the table by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, according to an official in the mayor's office.

"Our mayor being a team player has listened to what Mayor (Eddie) Francis and others have said," said Anthony Adams, deputy mayor of Detroit, Friday.

"(Francis) had some valid points about public control and so we will revisit our approach and see what's best to maintain the interests of both sides."

It's the latest twist in the controversial $30-million US bridge proposal following a meeting in Windsor between Kilpatrick and Francis.

Kilpatrick raised concerns on both sides of the border when he signed an agreement with the bridge which would potentially give the Moroun family control of the Detroit side of the tunnel for up to 100 years starting in 2020.

The proposed deal would see the bridge pay $10 million US for 25 acres of city-owned property in southwest Detroit to help create a 200-acre joint Canada-U.S. customs superplaza, plus another $20 million for the rights to control the U.S. side of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel for 25 years starting in 2020. Three 25-year renewal options were included in the proposal.

Also part of the deal was a new dedicated road along the Detroit waterfront -- to be paid for by the city of Detroit -- which would force tunnel traffic to clear customs at the bridge superplaza.

The city of Detroit owns its side of the tunnel with the Detroit-Canada Tunnel Corporation (DCTC) representing its current leaseholder -- Macquarie Bank in Australia. The city of Windsor owns the Canadian side of the tunnel, but also has a deal with DCTC as its operator.

Detroit's nine-member council was to make a final decision next month on the bridge proposal, but a couple of weeks ago passed a preliminary resolution stating its opposition.

The DCTC has also said it was willing to renegotiate the remaining 15 years of its lease with the city of Detroit in a bid to thwart Moroun's takeover bid.

DCTC pays the city of Detroit about $600,000 US annually out of revenues estimated to be at least $6.5 million US, although the private company does not have to reveal its finances.

With the bridge proposal pulled off the table, Adams said he expects city administration from both sides of the border to soon meet again to discuss the tunnel's fate.

Francis said he urged Kilpatrick during Friday's meeting to keep the tunnel in public hands and reject any takeover bids.

"Our position is this tunnel has been in the public interest for its lifetime," Francis said. "We have a significant amount of commuters and businesses in our downtowns who certainly depend on that link to continue operating as it has been.

"Respecting the decisions have to be made by Detroit council, what I put to the mayor is the value of having this asset the way it is -- staying in the public interest."

NO CUSTOMS MOVE

Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan sent a letter to Mayor Eddie Francis to emphasize there are no plans to move Canada customs officers to Detroit -- as called for in the bridge proposal. There are also "serious concerns" about redundancy by creating one customs bridge-tunnel superplaza at North America's busiest border crossing, she said in the letter.

The Windsor Star 2005
Top of pageBottom of page

Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 2722
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 4:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Excellent! It's good Kwame had the good sense to see how bad this would have been for the Detroit riverfront. I guess it goes to show that money doesn't always outweigh negative impact.
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 65
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 198.103.184.76
Posted on Monday, December 12, 2005 - 12:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed. I realize that the City of Detroit needs money, but the revenue should not be at the cost of mortgaging both the tunnel and the waterfront. Had this plan went through, Detroit's waterfront renewal plans would have been destroyed.
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 69
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 198.103.184.76
Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 12:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

December 13, 2005
THE WINDSOR STAR
PAGE: A5 (NEWS)


New tunnel takeover bid may be in cards

Dave Battagello, Windsor Star

Fearing a takeover bid by the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, operators for the Windsor-Detroit tunnel are in Washington this week raising their concerns with several government agencies.

Among those receiving briefings over two days -- Monday and today -- were officials from the Canadian Embassy, Department of Homeland Security, business associations, lobby groups and other government authorities, said Neal Belitsky, the tunnel's general manager.

"From a business perspective, we have a lot of concern," Belitsky said.

The controversial proposal would see bridge owner Manuel Moroun pay the city of Detroit $10 million US for 25 acres of city-owned property to help create a 200-acre joint Canada-U.S. customs superplaza, plus another $20 million for the rights to control the lease for the tunnel's U.S. side for 25 years starting in 2020. Three 25-year renewal options were included in the proposal -- potentially giving the Moroun family control for 100 years.

The deal also features creation of a dedicated road along the Detroit waterfront which would force tunnel traffic to clear customs at the bridge superplaza.

The takeover offer has been pulled off the table by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

"What we understand is the proposal as it stands has been pulled," Belitsky said. "But we also understand a (new) proposal may be coming forward. We are hearing from a number of sources it will be coming back in January before (Detroit) council in another form."

Moroun having a near-monopoly of North America's busiest border crossing, elimination of a downtown-to-downtown border link and lack of redundancy in creating only one customs superplaza in Detroit are among concerns being raised in Washington by the tunnel operators, Belitsky said.

"Also with the proposed secure roadway -- whose going to pay for it and who monitors it?" he said.

The bridge company has agreed to table its offer for the tunnel lease at Detroit's request, according to president Dan Stamper.

"They told us they wanted a chance to look at other proposals," Stamper said. "Others have taken offers to them. We agreed to table our offer until they look at others and figure out what's best for Detroit. The timing is in the city's hands, not ours. If the city can get a better offer than ours -- God bless them."

Add Your Message Here
Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.