From this morning's Detroit Free Press:
Kilpatrick and Knollenberg said campaign contributions have no bearing on their public positions, with Knollenberg calling any suggestion to the contrary "as insane as it is insulting" and Kilpatrick saying her only concern is what's best for her constituents, some of whom would be displaced by the proposed span.
But they are at odds with the position taken by a host of DRIC supporters on both sides of the river, from Windsor's mayor to Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, normally a staunch ally of Knollenberg
Ambassador Bridge officials said the donations are coincidental to the rival span. (Right)
"My contributions are to individuals and have nothing to do with specific issues," said Dan Stamper, president of the Detroit International Bridge Co., which operates the Ambassador Bridge. The company wants to build a replacement span next to the bridge, a proposal that Windsor residents and officials have objected to. Granholm has asked federal officials to expedite a decision on that span.
At taxpayers' expense
Moroun wouldn't comment, but bridge officials said his contributions are motivated more by what's good for the nation than what's good for his business. Stamper said he thinks the DRIC proposal is a waste of taxpayers' money "when there's an alternative that makes better sense."
Part of that argument is about money -- the U.S. cost of the DRIC span could be as much as $1.5 billion -- but state officials say bonds would be issued to pay for that, with tolls covering repayment. Any bridge built by Moroun, they say, would be paid for in the same fashion.
Still, says Knollenberg, taxpayers would be on the hook for the money.
"We ought to look at private enterprise as well," he said.
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