Should The DRIC Numbers Be Revised Downward Again?
Here is a recent story that I saw in Trucknews.com
If this story is correct, can anyone justify spending billions of taxpayer dollars on both sides of the border on a new crossing today. Does anyone believe that this is just a temporary "blip?"
If this story is correct, which investment outfit would be interested in financing a new Government crossing in a public-private partnership with traffic volumes not rising as quickly as DRIC said? Will Government provide a guarantee of billions if there are losses?
If this story is correct, which of the crossings--the new bridge, the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the the Ambassador Bridge or all of them---would have serious financial problems since vehicle volumes are significantly lower than in the 1999-2000 time period?
If this story is correct, when will Governments wake up and let the Ambassador Bridge build their enhancement project at their business risk with the appropriate Governmental oversight?
- Slowing economy reflected in reduced Ontario-US traffic
TORONTO, Ont. -- The number of trucks crossing the Ontario-US border between January and September 2006 fell by over 82,000 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association.
The Ontario Trucking Association indicated that the drop in traffic provides further confirmation that the province's economy which is so dependent upon the export of manufactured goods is feeling the effects of the high value of the Canadian dollar compared to the US greenback, competition from low cost manufacturing in China and a slowing US economy.
David Bradley, president of the OTA, whose industry hauls 80% of Ontario-US trade says, "the trucking industry is a good bellwether of economic activity and the current picture is not pretty."
"Most of what is produced in Ontario is for export to the US and a lot of that traffic has dried up over the last year or so," he added...
According to Bradley, the reduction in border traffic may have eased truck congestion at some of the border crossings, but people need to understand that this is not because the borders have become more efficient; it is because car and truck traffic is down.
"The border continues to thicken, and we have – despite the reduction in traffic – continued to see unacceptable southbound delays at some of the busiest crossings," says Bradley. "More and more red tape and cost is being thrust onto cross-border trade supposedly in the name of security; little urgency is being given to much-needed short-term infrastructure and resource enhancements; there seems to be no long-term investment plan to ensure we'll have the infrastructure in place to support future trade when we need it; and, we continue to be frustrated by complacency on the part of the people whose goods we deliver to ensure their companies and their freight are designated as secure."
"The province's future economic success is still indelibly linked to whether the border facilitates or impedes trade. It is now more important than ever that we get it right," he said."
Just like the automobile industry, we are seeing a major restructuring of our economy. I wonder if DRIC took that into account when telling us what the future cross-border traffic numbers will be as the justification for spending billions on a new "twinned bridge" a mile away from the existing one. They have had to lower their projections so many times in so few years that one wonders what the real story will be and whether spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money makes sense.
Shouldn't we deal with reality instead of slogans:
1) Fix the road to the existing bridge now
2) Let the Bridge Co. build its enhancement project so that private enterprise spends its money now and takes the gamble on traffic volumes
3) Determine where a new bridge should go and protect the land and corridor to it
4) Design the new "fixed" road to the border so that it can serve both bridges.
4) Build the new bridge IF AND WHEN TRAFFIC VOLUMES JUSTIFY IT!
Isn't this the logical way to go such that it gets the job done now at a minimum cost to everyone without gambling on the future? And avoids useless litigation as well!