Michigan governor is on top of his game

Snyder bypasses state legislature to move along construction of second span across Detroit River

Blog Entry June 18, 2012
Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson is the editorial director of ROADS & BRIDGES magazine and has been covering the industry since 1999. He has won seven Robert F. Boger Awards for editorial excellence, including three in 2011. He also was the creator of the Top 10, Contractor's Choice Awards and Recycling Awards platforms, as well as ROADS & BRIDGES Live.

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The clap, clap, clap-clap-clap served as an expletive. A big, fat expletive.


I was trying to enjoy the Chicago Cubs/Detroit Tigers game during a beautiful day at Wrigley Field last week. At least it was a beautiful day, because my Cubs can throw a rain cloud over the sun at any moment this season. The team is horrible--beyond horrible. But I had my beautiful day at Wrigley Field. The organ was playing, the vines along the outfield wall were in full bloom, and I noticed an abundent amount of Tiger fans filling the seats. I did not think much of it until about the second inning, when the visiting team was stringing some hits together. Then it happened. "Let's go Tigers!" Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. "Let's go Tigers! Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. Now I have been going to Wrigley Field since I was 8, and have seen with my very own eyes some pretty awful Cubs teams. However, never have I heard with my very own ears the fans of a visiting team overpowering the cheers of my fellow Cubs supporters.


In the seventh inning, it happened again. "Let's go Tigers!" Up, yours, you-Cubs-fans. OK, that was another clap, clap, clap-clap-clap, but they might have well been shouting nasty words in my face.


So even though I have a wealth of relatives who live around Detroit and I consider myself a closet Tigers fan, the big D is not on my favorite list right now. However, if the city can produce jobs in the road and bridge industry I can muster out a, "Let's go De-troit!" I'll refrain from clapping, though. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Transport Minister Denis Lebel did sign an agreement to build another bridge across the Detroit River. This ends a long battle with the state legislature, which at one point favored the construction of a second span but for some reason could not pass the measure. Snyder bypassed the stalmate in the capital by using the Michigan Strategic Fund, an economic development board that can take equity-level risks if it benefits the state's economy in the future.


Yes, Snyder used his power to trump the politicians, who are supposed to represent the best interests of the people of Michigan. I do not believe he abused his authority. The state legislature had more than enough time to work something out and voice any concerns. In the end they could not strike a deal, and a second span should help boost the economy in an area that is in dire need of a helping hand.


Snyder, however, is not out of hot water yet. The owners of the Ambassador Bridge will surely launch a loaded lawsuit against this latest development. So who knows when they will officially break ground on the second crossing, but I think it will happen sooner rather than later. I'm rooting for it.

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