Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Michigan appeals court ruled in favor of the state last Thursday in a challenge the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Companies controlled by the Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge, in their long-standing fight against the competing bridge, had sued over the condemnation of land to make room for the Canadian-government funded crossing. They argued that the agreement with Canada is illegal because lawmakers barred the state from spending tax dollars on the project, among other claim, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“Canada assumed financial responsibility for the project, and any money spent by Michigan is reimbursed by Canada,” the appeals court said. “While some Michigan funds might be used momentarily, no Michigan funds are ultimately expended under the crossing agreement.”
The court said that Michigan legislature requires the state’s transportation department to keep it informed with various reports.
“This is, once again, an indication that the Legislature approves of the way that the (bridge) project is moving forward, including the way payments for condemned properties are being handled,” judges Mark Cavanagh and Michael Kelly said.
The bridge is expected to open in 2024, ending the Moroun family’s long-standing monopoly of Detroit/Windsor river crossings. The family has lobbied and litigated extensively over the years to stop or stall the new structure’s construction.
“This emphatic ruling means progress will continue on a project that is spurring growth and creating good-paying jobs in Detroit, Windsor and across the region,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.