Road To Ruin
No it is not the title of a Bing Crosby/Bob Hope movie but it is almost as funny nor is it a new album by a rock group.
Are these Government people crazy or something? Are they just begging for a huge lawsuit? Are they that eager to give money to the Bridge Co.? Or Is this the new tactic to be used to frighten the Bridge Co. to get them sell out?
- "Schwartz's New York office is in the midst of finalizing his latest recommendations, which are expected to be unveiled at a council meeting in late July or early August."
If you remember the BLOG I wrote [June 19, 2007 "More On The New Schwartz Dream"] I talked about Ontario Minister Canfield's discussion about removing truck traffic from Huron Church Road. I also speculated that the new Schwartz solution would narrow Huron Church north of E C Row to force trucks to use a new DRIC bridge and road if ever built.
If I am right about Brian Masse jumping to the Liberals possibly as a Cabinet member, then I should mention what he said on WDET during his famous interview:
- "it doesn’t take away the main problem – that’s going to and from the border crossing in the Detroit-Windsor region and that’s important to note...
you still have the problem of the trucks and the cars can’t get to the 401. And that, at the end of the day, that’s the real problem. That’s why there’s been such discussion in our community over the years to come up with a, something that’s going to be healthy for the local area, as well as, the flow of the traffic through our region and that is important for the rest of the United States and the rest of Canada, but also is important for our regional economy...
once again it just comes down to the bottom line of how do you get to the through traffic from the 401 that needs to go there and also capacity for local businesses and also more importantly, to our commuters."
The ROAD to the bridge is now Brian's main problem all of a sudden, not the destruction of Sandwich. Quite a switch don't you think! None of the DRIC issues are important but the road now is.
Brian's position now is a very telling one. As I have pointed out, every argument used against the Bridge Co. as justification for building a new DRIC bridge has failed. Their opponents' arguments are unsupportable when the true facts are known. Perhaps this road argument is the last attempt at pressuring the Bridge Co. before Ambassador Wilson throws in the towel and meets with them to settle the border crossing issue.
In a few months, the BIF program will end and there goes the $300M for improving the road to the existing crossing. The money was to be used to improve the road to the bridge and would have created 10,000 high-paying direct and spin-off jobs, not $9 per hour call centre jobs. Of course it is absolute discrimination based on what has happened elsewhere in Canada and what the Senior Levels are prepared to do at the Tunnel. The money set aside in the Federal Budget, the $400M, why it is for the DRIC road. Sorry Ambassador Bridge.
And if the owner of the Bridge did not understand that, here is what Transport Minister Cannon said when he was interviewed after his whirlwind trip to Lansing and Windsor:
- "Cannon: And that is why for instance we have committed a great deal of money in Budget 2007 to our highways and border infrastructure and indeed we put set aside $400 million to be able to partner with the Ontario government in terms of the access road leading to the new crossing.
Deveau: I am glad that you mentioned the access road because that is probably the most sensitive part of this whole issue to people here in Windsor. Did you have a chance to actually go down the corridor?
Cannon: I will be this afternoon Melanie before going back. And as soon as we hang up on each other, I will be visiting pretty well this area and certainly going through the projects, which are also ongoing.
Deveau: Is money an issue or not? And the reason I ask that is because people are really getting excited about the idea of tunnelling this road whatever it might be, but we know that this is going to cost a heck of a lot more money than doing an at-grade or a slightly below-grade road - so is money an issue?
Cannon: Well you know, money ultimately is always, always an issue but let’s set that aside for the time being and say - what is the best way to be able to undertake this infrastructure? And of course the Government of Ontario is a partner as well as the Town of Windsor and so we have to be able to, I think, be open minded, listen to everything that has to be said and at the end of the day of course, we are going to make the decisions with the Government of Ontario on the specific design and the architecture of the road. But as I was mentioning this morning in the press conference, you know, I am a former town councillor and so I am always more sensitive to concerns that are brought up by people living in this area. The Ambassador Bridge, I come back to that Melanie just for a second, it is an important issue because you know there is the environmental assessment that they want to do, but at the end of the day there is also the fact that this access road will be going directly through the city of Windsor and I am not, I am not necessarily convinced that that is the right way and the right approach to take."
Why the Minister just had to come back to the Ambassador Bridge when discussing the access road. It's too bad that he failed to mention why the BIF funds were not used here to create jobs here when this City is desperate for employment!
Notice also he continues the DRIC misinformation that the Bridge Co. wants an access road on Huron Church. THEY DO NOT AND THE GOVERNMENT KNOWS THIS. It is another mis-statement designed to hurt the Bridge Co. but this time at the Ministerial level. Mister Minister---first the deception about plaza size and location and now this! Heads will roll.Here is how roads tie in with P3s and why the Ambassador Bridge people are supposed to feel threatened. From a US GAO report:
- "In addition to the franchise agreement, noncompete clauses have been key components of agreements between states and the consortia, under which the public sector agrees to varying degrees not to build any new roads or improve any of the existing roads that may result in additional capacity within a predetermined distance of the newly constructed road for a certain period of time. Four of the five toll roads we examined included noncompete clauses within their contracts."
As we can see, the Governmental partners and Brian are now trying to use the roads as a pressure point. This tactic won't work either since the DRIC road is essentially the WALTS road and that road leads to the Ambassador Bridge too.
Ambassador Wilson, time for you to make the call to the Bridge Co. before the Government of Canada makes a complete fool of itself.