The Beginning Of The End For DRIC
I expect that the issue with the 15 crossings and the outrage expressed by the Downriver communities caused some of the Legislators to question why there was a need for DRIC. In fact, rumour has it that the Governor acted when she killed the 8 Downriver possible crossings to prevent state legislators from ending DRIC funding right at that time. (Now THAT would have been embarrassing to the Governor).
Again, rumour has it that Gloria Jeff is leaving MDOT so I do not know who would brief the legislators. Hopefully, it will be someone who can see the writing on the wall and will announce the end of DRIC. Their timing is impeccable too....when we are about to have an election and so no one from our side is around to try and dissuade them.
Lawmakers threaten investigation
AMY F. BAILEY Associated Press LANSING, Mich. -
A few Republican state lawmakers are trying to figure out which way state transportation officials are going on a new border crossing between Michigan and Canada after spending a few years and nearly $17 million studying the issue.
Four GOP lawmakers sent state Department of Transportation Director Gloria Jeff a letter Thursday asking her to schedule a meeting with them within 30 days to give them an update on the status of the international border crossing study.
If the department does not meet the deadline, lawmakers said they would schedule hearings to investigate the matter.
"We feel that an accounting and explanation of the process and expense of these funds is due," Reps. Phil LaJoy of Canton and Shelley Goodman Taub of Bloomfield Hills and Sens. Jud Gilbert of Algonac and Shirley Johnson of Troy said in their letter to Jeff.
LaJoy, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said his office has received calls from a few organizations that have submitted proposals for a new crossing to the group considering the issue and think that it already has reached a decision.
"What have they done and where are they now? That's what we want to know," LaJoy said during a telephone interview.
In 2004, officials working on building a new bridge or tunnel to cross the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, pushed back the projected completion date to 2013 - two years later than projections made a year earlier.
Border delays at the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel sometimes last more than two hours on weekdays. Canadian and Michigan transportation officials have said Michigan and Ontario could lose $28.6 billion annually and 49,000 jobs by 2020 without a new crossing.
Last fall, the Border Transportation Partnership, a group of U.S. and Canadian officials, announced that it eliminated two areas - Detroit's Belle Isle and seven potential sites south of the city - as possible locations for a new crossing between the two countries.
At that time, the Michigan Department of Transportation said fewer than a dozen sites remain under consideration and that a final decision was expected to be announced sometime in 2007.
Bill Shreck, a spokesman for MDOT, said Thursday that a decision is still on schedule to be made next year.
"We are happy to fully brief the Legislature, as soon as a briefing can be scheduled," he said.