DETROIT, Mich. – Trucking magnate Manuel (Matty) Moroun, who owned the Ambassador Bridge and waged a war against the construction of a new bridge nearby, has passed away. He was 93.
Detroit media reports said Moroun died of heart failure Sunday.
The Ambassador Bridge, linking Detroit and Windsor, Ont., is the busiest border crossing between Canada and the U.S.
Moroun bought it in 1979.
In a tweet, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens paid tribute to the self-made billionaire, who was the son of immigrants from Lebanon.
“Mr. Moroun built a significant business empire through determination and grit,” Dilkens said.
The Detroit Regional Chamber said Moroun was a self-made success story.
“With his passing we celebrate his life and the family he built in Detroit,” it said.
Opposed new bridge
Moroun was a fierce opponent of the $5.7-billion Gordie Howe International Bridge. It is being built by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, a Crown corporation, through a public-private partnership.
The cable-stayed bridge, less than 5 kilometers from the current bridge, is expected to open in 2024.
Moroun opposed the project because he believed that it would cut Ambassador Bridge revenues sharply.
The reason for his worry was that the new bridge would offer uninterrupted traffic flow unlike the Ambassador Bridge.
He waged an expensive campaign against the bridge, and even proposed a constitutional amendment requiring voter approval to build it.
During the 2012 U.S. election, Michigan voters rejected the proposal, finally paving the way for the bridge.
Moroun’s funeral arrangements have yet to announced.
- This story has been updated with information on Moroun’s fight against a new bridge.
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