Ambassador Bridge twin span sign now

City of Detroit Council
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 1340
Detroit, MI 48202

Dear Honorable City Council Members,

We, as concerned residents, community advocates and religious leaders, express our growing dismay and frustration over 1) the recent unauthorized design changes to the Gateway Project and 2) the issuance of Finding of No Significant Impact by the U.S. Coast Guard in constructing a Second Span of the Ambassador Bridge.

Gateway Project

The Gateway Project is one of the largest transportation projects undertaken by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Gateway has cost the federal government $145 million and the State of Michigan $30 million and has resulted in the creation of over 2,000 construction jobs. The "Purpose and Need" of Gateway consisted of removing traffic from local roads and neighborhoods. As the host of the project, Southwest Detroit has paid a considerable sum in order to reap the rewards of a successfully executed Gateway completion. The construction of Gateway required the closure of I-75 between Clark Street and Rosa Parks, completely interrupting direct entrance into the vibrant business communities in Southwest Detroit, especially those located in the heart of Mexicantown. According to the Southwest Detroit Business Association, businesses directly impacted by the construction have lost up to 30\% in revenue. Traffic congestion, including commercial trucks, has tripled in local neighborhoods, especially those near Fort Street, Clark Street and Rosa Parks, causing substantial accelerated wear and outright damage to local streets. The freeway closing has also led to an increase in criminal activity, especially prostitution.

On behalf of the community, its residents and businesses community, we respectfully request that our Council members require the following commitments:

1) MDOT and Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) must abide by the original design and agreement for the Gateway Project. There will be no deviation from the original agreed upon Gateway design.
2) Upon the completion of Gateway, there will be no commercial (i.e. bridge) traffic on local roads.
3) There will be no acquisition and usage of City or State roads for private use without the proper authority by the designated City of Detroit department, including, but not limited to 23rd Street, Lodge Service Drive, W Grand Blvd, Fort Street and Riverside Park.
4) There will be no actions that result in unnecessary and harmful delays.

Second Span

Southwest Detroit is home to one of the most diverse communities in Michigan with a vibrant and growing business district in Detroit. This is true even though the community has faced tremendous challenges that many communities would not survivewe host the Detroit Salt Mine, Marathon Oil Refinery, three freeways dividing up our neighborhoods, the largest rail yard in the state and the Ambassador Bridge. 30\% of our residents live below poverty, while air quality in Southwest Detroit is among the worst in the City.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provides for a comprehensive process mandated by federal law to ensure the conduct of all federal agencies is protecting the human health and environment of the public. An Environmental Assessment, a lower tier process, was completed for Second Span of the Ambassador Bridge and the findings by the U.S. Coast Guard failed to recognize that there is a significant impact on Southwest Detroit and a full Environmental Impact Study is needed. Instead, the project received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

Therefore, we respectfully urge Council to advocate that the construction of a Second Span must undertake a full Environmental Impact Study with sufficient evaluation, notice and comment process. We also ask that Council require that the City of Detroit investigate the following:

1) the fact that the Environmental Assessment provided by the Detroit Bridge Company is incomplete;
2) the controversies with regard to the Detroit International Bridge Companys legal authority to construct a second span when that construction includes the City of Detroits Riverside Park, and no authority to land in Windsor;
3) whether the existing Ambassador Bridge shall remain open;
4) proof that there was an independent analysis and consultation with relevant federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);

We, the underlined organizations, residents, and religious leaders endorse the requests contained in this letter and thank you in advance for protecting our great City of Detroit and its residents.


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Ollie SotoBy:
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Detroit city council


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