Sure I deal with the border a lot. Interestingly though, my readership numbers are highest on those days which tells me that others are fascinated too.
I cannot think of a more important story that the national media have so far, other than the odd story, ignored. It is a disgrace that no solution has been found yet but if you are a regular reader of this BLOG, you know why.
I hope that one day a PhD student will do a thesis on what has really happened over the last few years. What would be necessary though is for the people involved to tell the behind the scenes stories, the stuff that we poor members of the public could never hope to learn but what is really influencing what is going on.
Until that time comes, here are some interesting matters to consider when thinking about the border crossing issue these days:
HOW CAN THE GOV AFFORD TO BUILD A BRIDGE, PLAZA AND ROADS NOW
- "The nasty little gift Gov. Jennifer Granholm dropped on Michigan residents this week has spoiled our Christmas spirit.
With her re-election campaign safely behind her, the governor announced that Michigan faces a $1 billion budget deficit over the next two years." (Detroit News)
I read a couple of the Letters to the Editor recently concerning the buses carrying hockey fans to the Wings game against the Leafs. One fellow got on the Tunnel Bus at 5:15 PM to go to see the teams play and got off at 7:40 p.m. "We had missed all but four minutes of the first period and buses that left after ours missed up to two whole periods." Another mentioned an obvious problem "Two-and-a-half hour tunnel bus ride with no washroom."
This is not the first time that Tunnel bus riders have complained about problems and yet neither Transit Windsor nor the WTC Chair/Mayor seem able to solve the problem.
The solution is simple: the Tunnel bus should use the Ambassador Bridge!
ANOTHER STAR TUNNEL STORY
How many more stories can be published in the Star saying the same thing all over again. Don't they know that no one is interested. And when nothing happens as the Senior Levels do their own thing, it will prove that our Mayor and Council have no power whatsoever!
Oh well, at least we learned in the last one that Essex County Warden Nelson Santos is a smart politician by favouring a tunnel. It does not impact him or his constituents so why make an enemy of Eddie right away. It will happen soon enough.
As for Eddie, Brian, Sandra and Dwight....more of the same old, same old.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH $6 BILLION
I found Eddie's comments on the tunnel costing extremely arrogant:
- "Saying it's too expensive is an argument of convenience," Francis said. "A little homework shows it's possible and attainable. You can do anything with today's engineering."
Of course coming from a Mayor who has no idea what the final cost of the East end arena will be and who signs off on a deal before it is finalized so he has no bargaining position, what can we expect?
I think not either. But it is a good issue to run on for the next Provincial election
FOOLING ALL OF THE COUNCILLORS ALL OF THE TIME
- "City council is calling on Ottawa to dismiss the Ambassador Bridge's application to twin its span, citing concerns about the impact on Windsor's environment and residents.
The demand was made in a letter recently to federal Transport minister Lawrence Cannon."
- I saw this story in the Windsor Star. Since this letter to federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon has been disclosed to the media, I would appreciate if you would provide me with a copy of it. I would also appreciate copies of the other letters sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty and other provincial government leaders."
Want to bet whether I will ever see them or not!
I assumed that this was part of the strategy that the Mayor had suggested to Council at their recent strategy session after the election since they were supposed to spend time on the issue during their meeting.
Imagine my horror when I read Council Halberstadt's BLOG where he said:
- "These messages are quite misleading in my mind, since the present City Council, which took office at the start of December, has not discussed or set a strategy on the twinning of the Ambassador Bridge or given direction on any matter pertaining to the border...
I anticipated wrongly that the border file would be seriously addressed when Council met over three days prior to Christmas in orientation and strategic planning sessions organized by the bureaucracy and two external consultants"
- "Let me speak with you about another environmental issue, economic issue, and quality of life issue about which I feel passionately.
And that is our border crossing."
But that is not the BIG story. The BIG story is that the Public, and it seems Council, was misled. It was said that the letters were sent "recently" which would suggest that THIS Council was taking an anti-Ambassador Bridge position. I was surprised when I read that because I do know that there are a number of Councillors who can think on this Council and they are coming to the realization that all of this anti-Bridge Co. reaction is not productive and that one MUST deal with them.
- Nowhere in the story did it say when these letters were sent. In fact, they stem from a Council direction at an in camera meeting of the old City Council long before the Nov. 13th municipal election."
What even Alan did not tell you was that Eddie's 13 page letter dated November 23 was faxed to the Minister and several others my inside moles tell me. An interesting date. After the election so the old Council would not care and before the new Council was sworn in so they would not have any input. I wonder who on Council actually saw a copy of the letter.
Someone owes the Councillors and the Public and apology. AND an explanation why we could not have been told the true facts.
Frankly, I would not be surprised, after Halberstadt's BLOG, if Ottawa and Toronto would not accept what the Mayor tells them is the City position unless it was supported by a public Council resolution.
DETROIT-WINDSOR TUNNEL VOLUMES DOWN AGAIN
Another 63,000 vehicles less in December, 2006 than a year earlier. Not good for the Tunnel's bottom line, not good for the WTC, not good for Windsor and certainly not good for taxpayers who have to make up the huge multi-million short-fall through City taxes. I believe that the total loss for the Tunnel is around 10% of the volume compared with last year.
Are the WTC Board members ever going to tell us what they are going to do to stop the bleeding of volumes and revenues? When is the new Tunnel Guru supposed to start breathing the Tunnel (not the fumes being spewed out of the Tunnel ventilation building I hope)
Can you imagine what the City of Detorit must be thinking now? Eddie told them at the Joint Councils meeting that Windsor's dividend was $6.6M per year and now, a year later, Windsor may not be receiving anything. And this is the City that some in Detroit want to be their partner?
Oh well, I am sure that Eddie will keep on running to Toronto and Ottawa to "demand" that they help him out. Someone has to because I cannot believe that any infrastructure investor would sink money into the Tunnel when there are so many other investments to make that have a chance of making a profit.