Ambassador demands city report on bridge twinning be rescinded

DETROIT — The Ambassador Bridge says a City of Detroit study update critical of the company’s plans to build a second span was “biased” and meant to deliberately “confuse City Council.”

In a letter to the city Planning Commission, Detroit International Bridge Co. President Dan Stamper complains the “misleading” and “inaccurate” report by city officials resulted in two city council resolutions against the bridge company. Because of that, says Stamper, the commission should rescind the reports immediately.

Stamper accused City Planner Marcel Todd of misrepresenting the bridge’s future plans to twin the Ambassador in a presentation to council as well as refusing to meet with bridge representatives prior to the report’s presentation. “This is a blatant attempt to mischaracterize DIBC’s plans when we were not consulted on the nature of our own plans,” Stamper wrote in the Oct. 4 letter, obtained by this week.

Report to council intended to delay Ambassador
twinning plans, claims bridge Co. president

Instead, claims Stamper, opponents of the DIBC’s plans were included in the Sept. 11, 2006 presentation, while at the same time Todd neglected to invite the DIBC’s director of governmental relations to participate, even though he was present.

In an e-mail response to, Mr. Todd did not comment directly on the letter, but said the deputy director, Marcus Loper, and other members of the City Planning Commission staff met with Stamper and two DIBC representatives this week.

“Future meetings are anticipated as we review and move toward resolution of the concerns expressed in the letter,” he said.

The company is forging ahead with plans to build a second span to the privately-owned Ambassador at the Detroit-Windsor border, despite the bilateral Detroit International River Crossing study’s (DRIC) recommendation to both Canada and the U.S. that a new bridge should be constructed 3 km downriver.

DIBC has actively criticized the DRIC selection process. The move to build another span is seen by some in the region as a way to undermine a new bridge proposal.

According to Stamper, Todd also “withheld” from council that a high-ranking politician – Phil LaJoy, chairman of the House Transportation committee – called the DRIC’s ongoing study “flawed’ and “designed to steer the project towards a pre-determined conclusion.”

After the Sept. 11 report, councilors reversed a prior Michigan DOT decision to skip an environmental impact assessment and sent the bridge company’s application to the U.S. Coast Guard, which is now asked to determine whether a full environmental impact assessment must be completed.

There’s a chance that process may delay – or even halt – the bridge company’s plans.

“Your actions have led city council to adopt a position and a belief that the DIBC’s project may be bad for Detroit,” Stamper wrote to Todd.

“As a matter of integrity … you have the obligation to present a corrected report to City Council based on all the facts of the project, good or bad … and let them come to their own conclusions.”

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