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The Associated Press September 19, 2011, 3:18PM ET

Michigan bridge critics spend nearly $5M on TV ads

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge have spent $4.7 million this year on TV ads opposing a proposed nearby crossing that would be built between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, according to a report released Monday.

The advertising campaign continues a showdown between supporters and opponents of the proposed new bridge linking Michigan and Canada. Michigan state lawmakers are studying the proposal, with another round of hearings set for late September and October.

Gov. Rick Snyder and many businesses support building a new Detroit-Windsor bridge to aid passenger and commercial traffic. The plan would involve a public authority to oversee the project, which would be backed by private investors. Michigan would rely on $550 million from Canada for related improvements.

Officials with the privately owned Ambassador Bridge oppose the new bridge and want to expand their own operation. They say a publicly supported bridge would unfairly compete with their own and could leave Michigan taxpayers on the hook if the project doesn't pan out.

Matthew Moroun, vice chairman of the company that owns the Ambassador Bridge, said Monday that advertising will continue.

The estimated price of a new bridge, toll and customs plazas, and expressway linkups is nearly $4 billion.

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