Protest targets train depot, Moroun

From The Detroit News

With the derelict Michigan Central Train Depot as a backdrop, hundreds of  Detroiters on Friday demanded more jobs as well as more accountability from  Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun.

The rally, sponsored by the AFL-CIO-backed Good Jobs Now team and the Service  Employees International Union, was held at Roosevelt Park and featured a  12-foot-tall caricature of the controversial billionaire.

Moroun, who has been taking heat for the condition of the building since he  purchased it in 1996, has also been waging a bitter fight against the  construction of a new, publicly owned bridge to Windsor.

Moroun wants to build a twin to the aging Ambassador Bridge and argues plans  for a publicly owned bridge favored by Gov. Rick Snyder would take money from  his bridge while leaving taxpayers on the hook for construction costs. Snyder  continued to lobby for a publicly owned span Friday on Mackinac Island.

“If he was to tear down or restore the train depot, it would create jobs for  Detroiters. Instead, blight takes jobs away, which is a problem for Detroiters,”  said Detroit resident JoMeca Thomas, a member of Good Jobs Now.

Owners of Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns and operates the  Ambassador Bridge, were unavailable for comment, according to a company  spokesman.

In March, Moroun announced that renovations would soon begin on the  98-year-old depot that would include a new roof and new windows for the 18-story  building.

The last train to pull out of the station was on Jan. 6, 1988. Despite  fences, barbed wire and guards, thieves and vandals have wreaked havoc on the  building since Moroun purchased it.

Democratic State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who represents southwest Detroit where  the depot and bridge are located, addressed the crowd Friday.

“The people of Detroit want jobs, and they want people to be accountable,”  Tlaib said.

Tlaib said she wasn’t surprised Moroun didn’t appear at the rally.

“But if he did appear, I’d tell him that people become demoralized when they  see the derelict depot, see the abandoned homes that he owns and trucks rumbling through their neighborhoods.

“I’d tell him ‘Matty, open your eyes!’ ”

Retired construction worker Clifford Marion, who attended the rally, said he  agrees with Moroun’s bridge view.

“I don’t see the need for another bridge,” said Marion of Detroit. “I’d  rather they took the money to build another bridge and use it to create jobs  here in Detroit. This rally is all about jobs, jobs, jobs.”

From The Detroit News:–Moroun#ixzz1Or4dHuZO