Ambassador Bridge owner loses land rights fight to DRTP

DETROIT — The Grosse Pointe billionaire and trucking mogul who owns the Ambassador Bridge has lost a rare court battle over land rights in the Detroit-Windsor border region.

The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a U.S. District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Ambassador’s controlling company, Detroit International Bridge Co., against the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP), which is a joint venture between Canadian Pacific Railway and Borealis Transportation Infrastructure Trust.

Ambassador Bridge may not be the only major river crossing in Detroit-Windsor for long

The DIBC sued in an effort to overturn the DRTP’s October 2003 purchase of
property from Amtrak Corp. The property, acquired for The Jobs Tunnel
project, is next to the vacant Michigan Central Depot owned by Moroun’s
interests in southwest Detroit.

Both the Jobs Tunnel project — which would convert the old rail tunnel into a truck corridor — and the DIBC’s proposals to twin the Ambassador are competing to be the next major border span across the Detroit River.

This latest decision affirmed Federal District Court Judge John Feikens’ dismissal of the DIBC’s suit as lacking legal merit. According to the DRTP, a Detroit International Bridge lease on adjacent Rose Street land, which included a first-rights option to purchase certain portions of the Amtrak property, was terminated by the DIBC and ended June 30, 2003. The land was purchased by DRTP several months after the option expired.

“We are pleased and not surprised that the court recognized the frivolous
nature of this nuisance case,” said Marge Byington, director of Government Relations for the tunnel partnership. “The DRTP had a clear right to purchase the Amtrak property for its proposed cross-border commercial route, free of any claims by the DIBC.”

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