Matthew Maroun, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, has defrauded Michigan taxpayers by failing to follow construction orders from the state. Maroun and his company should meet the obligations set out for them or continue to face legal action.

In 2009, the Michigan Department of Transportation filed a lawsuit against Maroun’s company for not completing its part of the Gateway project. The project, which has been in development since the 1990s, would reduce traffic around the Ambassador Bridge by implementing a series of new ramps that connect to local freeways. Instead of completing the project as planned, Maroun diverted bridge traffic past a duty-free gas station and convenience store that he also owns. Maroun was held in contempt of court in November and was jailed last week for his failure to finish work on the Gateway project, as ordered by court.

Many of the nation’s aging bridges are structurally deficient and need to be upgraded in order to meet modern demands. In this case, the state is in a unique position to renovate its infrastructure by sharing costs with the Canadian government to improve a critical crossing between Detroit and Ontario.

Because of Maroun’s actions, improvements to the current bridge, as well as construction on a proposed second bridge, are now in jeopardy. His mismanagement of resources hurts the people of Michigan by wasting tax dollars and delaying important improvements to a crossing that Michigan’s manufacturing and tourism industries can’t operate without.

Maroun should face jail time until the Department of Transportation is satisfied with his company’s work on the Gateway project.

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