(WXYZ) - The tug-of-war over a new bridge to Canada and who should build it has turned into a fierce legal and political battle between Governor Rick Snyder, the State Transportation Department, and wealthy Ambassador Bridge CEO Matty Moroun. But so far, the people of Michigan are favoring the proposal put forth by Moroun.
In an exclusive WXYZ/Detroit Free Press poll conducted by EPIC MRA, 47-percent oppose a publicly owned bridge built with financial help from the Canadian government, 38-percent favor it, and 15-percent are undecided.
When the 600 likely Michigan voters were given very specific details about the two bridge proposals, they opposed Governor Snyder's proposal even more.
Fifty-one percent reject it, 42-percent like it, and 7-percent are undecided.
According to Bernie Porn of EPIC MRA, "much of the public sentiment supporting Moroun's bridge proposal has been shaped by his expensive commercial campaign engineered by media consultant Dick Morris."
Despite arguments to the contrary, opponents of Snyder's proposal have done a good job of convincing people that a public bridge would eventually cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars and that Michigan has been well served by the privately owned Ambassador Bridge.
Last year, Governor Snyder failed to win support in the Republican controlled Michigan Legislature for his bridge between Southwest Detroit and Canada. There has been talk that the Governor may eventually go around the state lawmakers to get the bridge built. But such a move could cost him dearly with the public.
A solid majority, 60-percent of the people we surveyed, oppose the Governor not getting approval from the legislature. Only 30-percent say going around the legislators would be ok and 10-percent are undecided.
The survey was conducted January 21 – 25, 2012 and has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.0-percent.
READ THE COMPLETE POLL RESULTS BELOW
Based on what you know or have heard or read about a proposed new bridge that would be built between the State of Michigan and Ontario, Canada, do you favor or oppose the proposal?
- Favor – 38%
- Oppose – 47%
- Undecided – 15%
The proposed new bridge would be built in southwest Detroit. The Canadian government would pay Michigan's share of the cost. The U.S. government would allow Michigan to use the Canadian money as the state's match for federal money to improve Michigan roads. The bridge would be financed with loans repaid from tolls charged to cross the bridge. A private company would be named to operate the bridge and assume all financial risks. At the same time, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge proposes to build a twin span next the existing bridge with private funds, which he says makes a publicly owned bridge unnecessary. Canada (as well as Windsor officials) opposes that plan. Supporters of the bridge say it will cost about a billion dollars, all repaid from bridge tolls. They also say it will be more secure against terrorist attacks than a twin span built next to the Ambassador Bridge. Opponents say a public bridge would eventually cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars, that Michigan has been well served by the privately owned Ambassador Bridge, and will be well served by a second twin span for that bridge in the future. After hearing these details, do you favor or oppose building the proposed new public bridge crossing between Michigan and Canada?
- Favor – 42%
- Oppose – 51%
- Undecided – 7%
Governor Snyder has not been able to persuade the Legislature to approve of his proposal for a new bridge crossing between Michigan and Canada, and some officials in his administration have said that he may seek a non-legislative solution to build the bridge. If he did that, would you favor or oppose his actions?
- Favor – 30%
- Oppose – 60%
- Undecided – 10%