Is The Fat Lady Singing?
I am sure you remember my BLOG, "Out of Touch, Out of Office" written on September 29. I told you at the time that the Americans were catching up quickly. They just passed us!
Rumour had it about 2 months ago that the Downriver Mayors were ganging up to end the whole Bi-national Partnership fiasco. They were to ask the State of Michigan to pull out of financing the group.
It may be that the rumour was true. Governor Granholm obviously recognized what was happening and how foolish the process had become. There was no way that a crossing was going to be built Downriver or at Belle Isle so why pretend and prolong the agony for her voters. Why waste time and money?
She made the announcement herself to calm her citizens down. She did not kill the partnership, yet, but did try to salvage the process to keep friendly relations with our side of the border. If only our politicans had the nerve to do what she did for their voters.
The press release was strange though. Some forces must have been working on her to make her act as she did and when she did. She made the announcement almost unilaterally it seems. And scooped the process since the Partnership was to make its decision by year-end. So much for their agenda.
The Governor did the Press Release yet the Bi-national Partnership supposedly made the decision. The Bi-national did not make the announcement, Gloria Jeff from MDOT did not say anything, no one from the other Governments, including Windsor, Ontario or Canada, were involved. It seemed that she just flexed her muscles and everyone else is caving. After all, it is only her state.
I bet that the Bi-national was just as surprised by the announcement as anyone else. Why just last week they chartered a boat for a 4-hour cruise along the river for members of various US and Canadian committees to look at the crossings. It only needs about a 30 minute cruise now after the Governor's bombshell!
The dynamics of the border changed dramatically yesterday afternoon. Who is calling the shots became obvious after this comment of the Governor "The study team will continue their work to ensure that the right decision is made for the residents of southeast Michigan." I guess we are just chopped liver on this side of the border.
What will be the spin out of City Hall? Who cares. It will be Eddie and the Councillors trying to pretend that they have actually accomplished something with Schwartz. They haven't. They have become irrelevant. They squandered their opportunity by rallying for a billion dollar failed dream. Their secrecy and their failure to gain public approval for their border strategy destroyed all that our Citizens accomplished for them.
Public bridge, forget it. Bill C-44, never. Public authority, not a chance. Expropriate the Bridge Co. assets, you have got to be kidding!
The US of A has just told us that the Bridge Company has won, whether the crossing is Ojibway where they own land on both sides of the river or the Twinned Bridge or the 200 booths.
As for DRTP or the the Detroit River Tradeway Tunnel or the Detroit River Rail Tunnel or whatever they call it today, it has no chance. No one is going to build a 6-lane truck expressway through Windsor to link up with a new 6 lane tunnel or 6-lane bridge into Detroit when they are trying to beautify their riverfront. The end of the Belle Isle bridge takes out salvaging DRTP by building 2 crossings, another Bi-national extravagance. (Why build one crossing when you can pay for two!)
I warned the Mayor and Council months ago to negotiate a solution with the Bridge Co. for Windsor's benefit before it was too late. Now it almost is. The Bridge Co. no longer needs Windsor. Reread their 3rd ad on their new border proposal to see what I mean.
Here are some facts to consider when picking winners and losers:
- The Michigan Governor has a good relationship with the Bridge Co. with their plans re the expansion of Cobo Hall. Quoted in Crains, she said she wants to convene county treasurers and leaders from throughout the region to "determine a solution that is affordable and wise." "I want to be at the table in playing a creative and positive role in financing."
- The Mayor of Detroit called it "a major, major deal in the city of Detroit"--- the first phase of a new east-side industrial park in Detroit Friday owned by businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun who owns the Bridge Co.
- Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick thanked Moroun for several recent projects, including the Port of Detroit deal and the creation of an industrial park near I-94 and Mt. Elliott. The combined projects will create several hundred jobs in the city. "I want to thank Matty for what he's been able to do in the city," Kilpatrick said. "That is an absolutely incredible undertaking, and he deserves applause."
- The US Federal and State Governments have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into the Ambassador Gateway project. Do you think they have the money to duplicate that elsewhere and to staff a totally new crossing?
- The Bridge Co. presented their new proposal to the US side first, before they saw Canadian politicans