DETROIT – The Michigan appeals court ruled in favor of the state Thursday in a challenge to a second bridge being built between Detroit and Canada.
Companies controlled by the Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge, sued over the condemnation of land to make room for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. They argued that the agreement with Canada is illegal because lawmakers barred the state from spending tax dollars on the project, among other claims.
“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 Legislature requires the Transportation Department to keep it informed with various reports, the court said.
“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, named for a native of Canada who played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, is expected to open in 2024.
“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.