Fact Check: Anti-Proposal 6 commercial

6:00 PM, Oct 31, 2012   |    comments
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Image from the anti-Proposal 6 commercial, paid for by Taxpayers Against Monopolies.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- With less than a week to the election, proponents of building a new bridge from Michigan to Canada are finally promoting the plan in television commercials.

The group Taxpayers Against Monopolies expects to be outspent about 32 to one by Matty Maroun, the man who owns and operates the existing Ambassador Bridge.

Maroun had spent about $32 million through last Friday, while Taxpayers Against Monopolies had spent less than $1 million. 

Tom Shields, a spokesman for Taxpayers Against Monopolies, told the Detroit Free Press, "You don't need as much money when you're telling the truth."

The commercial, called "This Land" caricatures Maroun as a greedy monopolist.  It claims Maroun makes $100 million dollars a year "on his bridge monopoly."  That $100 million dollar figure is taken from a June 22, 2012 article in Forbes Magazine.

The commercial says Maroun's "proposal could stop every bridge project in Michigan."  That is a conclusion reached by the non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency, which gives guidance to lawmakers on the impact of legislation.   The SFA says "arguably, the constitutional amendment could apply to all bridge and tunnel projects involving state resources, regardless of whether they were international, including bridges that are currently planned but not yet built."  The SFA says all such projects could be subject to a local and statewide vote.

The commercial also claims that over 25,000 jobs could be killed.   This number comes from a study paid for by supporters of the bridge, the Michigan Manufacturers Association.   The study was conducted by the Center for Automotive Research.   Detroit's auto companies are the prime sponsors of the "This Land" commercial; Meijer, Inc. also contributed $100,000.

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