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News Psst! Want a new bridge? For free? :-)

  1. Oct 5, 2012 #1


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  3. Oct 6, 2012 #2


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    even if the new bridge is paid for by canada, won't congressional approval be needed, and won't the private owner of the old bridge have the constitutional right to be compensated for his loss of revenue?

    in the old days of private ownership in the uk, parliamentary approval would involve an assessment of the loss of revenue, and a requirement of compensation

    (for example, when westminster bridge was built, the watermen's guild had to be compensated for loss of ferrying revenue)
  4. Oct 8, 2012 #3


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    From http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20120612/FREE/120619985/snyder-expected-to-announce-deal-to-build-new-detroit-river-bridge# [Broken]

    congressional approval is not needed, if you specifically mean the Congress of the US authorizing funds to pay for the bridge or infrastructure, nor aprroval from the state legislature if the governor follows along with an interlocal agreement. The governor of Michagin, a republican, has been thwarted by the Republicans in the Legistature to allocate funds for building of the bridge.

    As for compensation, the Ambassador bridge, which is in private hands, is not being dismantled so an argument of loss of revenue would be a difficult avenue to persue. Traffic between the two countries has increased over the years to the point where more lanes are required.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Oct 8, 2012 #4


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    no, i'm not talking about funding, i'm talking about authorising the inevitable interference any infrastructure project causes to existing rights
    from the same link …
    Moroun says NITC is unfair government competition that will bankrupt his bridge because it's expected to siphon off 50 percent of traffic from the Ambassador Bridge.​
    i'm not american, but i would have thought that moroun's existing property right was protected by the constitution
  6. Oct 8, 2012 #5


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    As someone who frequently crosses the Ambassador, I think the project is a GOOD idea, though not great. The increased "lanes" will definitely lift some of the congestion, but really, all thats needed is is more lanes at customs/border patrol. The bridge gets backed up because all of the security checkpoints are backed up and slow. The bottleneck doesn't seem to be the lanes on the bridge, but rather just everyone waiting in queue to get through.

    Theres not much room for expansion either to add more booths. So maybe its necessary.

    But from experience, I've never been stuck on the bridge in traffic only to get to the other side and have there be no lines at customs...
  7. Oct 8, 2012 #6


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    American neither am I, nor a lawyer.
    Moroun, it seems, would want a monopoly on all fees for vehicular traffic that crosses the border at that location. How far away from his Ambassador bridge should another bridge be built so that he could not claim a loss of 50 % would be a question to pose to him. If the new bridge was built right next to his bridge and the toll fees on the new bridge undercut his, then yes I would agree that his constitutional right to operate a business without undue government interference would have been violated. I do not think that is the case.

    According to Wiki, 10,000 commercial vehicles cross the bridge every day. It is that traffic the Canadians would like removed from the city streets of Windsor and have direct access to major thoroughfares. 17,000 private cars cross the bridge every day.

    No doubt Moroun, a bilionaire family, is ligitous and if his constutional rights are violated that would be one of his options to legally persue. Presently he is performing a lobby campaign against a new bridge to keep his interests at the forefront..

    PS. He may be waging a war or words against the new bridge so that he is granted concessions of some sort, which could ultimely be the prime candidate for operation of duty free shops and the like for the new bridge.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  8. Oct 8, 2012 #7


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    In short, the answer is, no.

    Amendment V of the US Constitution stipulates, " . . . , nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    and AMENDMENT XIV, Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868 provides "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    That is the extent of property rights in the US Constitution.

    Moroun is not losing his property, but he is losing a monopoly to which he is not entitled, unless the prevailing governmental authority granted he or his company or its predecessors such a monopoly. A government may grant an exclusive privilege, but usually for a limited time.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  9. Oct 9, 2012 #8


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    but doesn't the goodwill of a business count as property under american constitutional law?

    if i sell a shop, i expect to be paid for the building, for the stock inside it, and for the goodwill, which is the name for the extra value that the shop has by virtue of its established customers

    (a building which has never functioned as a shop would sell for less than an identical building with a well-established shop)

    similarly, if the state government deprives me of my shop (for example, to build a highway through it), it must compensate me for the building, for the stock inside it, and for the goodwill

    if the state government were to confiscate maroun's bridge, they would certainly have to compensate him for the value of the goodwill

    surely if they merely damage his goodwill, they have to pay for that damage?​
  10. Oct 9, 2012 #9
    Ah the good old days


    I don't think it works like that any more, in the UK, if it ever did.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  11. Oct 9, 2012 #10


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    Goodwill, perhaps it can be accessed as an item on a company's or a personnal business's balaance sheet for accounting purposes as an intangible asset. As an intangible asset goodwill can be transferred from one location to another to be used to build up another successful enterprise.

    If you sell a shop it would depend upon the terms.
    Someone in the same category of merchandise might want to expand his business through aquisition or location, and would then buy a company at a premium reflecting the established goodwill, and you might be then signing an agreement to not operate same type of business for x number of years.
  12. Oct 9, 2012 #11
    Competition in a free market society ... a new concept?

    All he has to do is reduce his prices. People will flock to his product over theirs.
  13. Oct 9, 2012 #12
    Alfi the problem would come in the fact that the customs and border crossings themselves are controlled by the governments. So if either chose to stop staffing the booths at the end of his bridge he would be forced to close it as an illegal point of entry. He can not compete if they choose not to let him.
  14. Oct 16, 2012 #13
    The customs and border entry are controlled by our governments.
    The fee to cross the bridge is not. ( please correct me if I am wrong in that ) ~$5
    If so, the fee can be lowered to make it a more attractive choice. say $2.50

    As I write this, I think the $5 toll is reasonable and the amount of traffic would only go down if another bridge were built. I can see his point.
    But it's an old bridge (1929) and if it were necessary to close it for maintenance it would be good to have the alternate available.
  15. Nov 9, 2012 #14
    looks like a new bridge is in the cards. Or votes.

    LONDON, Ont. — Manufacturers are breathing a sigh of relief after an attempt to block a new bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich., was shot down by Michigan voters Tuesday.

    The voters turned down a proposal to require a referendum on the issue despite an intense media campaign by the billionaire-owner of the Ambassador Bridge.

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