Spanky's Economic Outlook and Greenlink's Death
Are we ever lucky that he spoke so much about Windsor and our border crossing but unfortunately said so little. Given Ontario's deteriorating economic position, it is no wonder that, since the election, Dwight has been in hiding and not said a word about Greenlink and government financing.
Has Dwight ever met the Mayor yet to learn about it? Now I understand why the Mayor has not submitted the City's response to DRIC (or if he has finally done it, it has not made public) since he too knows that Greenlink has no hope of getting Ontario financial support. Another failure for the Leader of Council on the border.
All of that media money wasted by the Mayor. It could have gone to buy some Library books.
This would not have made Eddie happy:
- "Duncan said the province is also seriously considering what it can use from Windsor's GreenLink proposal."
The Mayor is clearly between a rock and a green space... the best he could say to salvage his unsalvageable position was:
- "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said he had hoped for a more concrete plan on the border.
"I would have liked to see some stronger language and a more definitive comment on moving forward,"
Why didn't the Mayor, come out more forcefully? It is pretty simple. The Finance Minister would then ask the Mayor do you want money for jobs and economic development or do you want money for a Schwunnel! You see Eddie blew it. He lost his leverage over Dwight and Sandra once the election was over.
Let me set out for you now all of the comments that I could find in Dwight's Economic Statement and background materials that specifically mention Windsor. Some of it is repetitive. I will give you my comments as we go along.
1) Rapid re-employment teams have already provided immediate assistance in such communities as London, Smiths Falls, Windsor, Nipigon and Hamilton.
Fantastic... when a plant closes in Windsor, a group of civil servants "makes initial contact with the workers and employer within one hour of a public announcement of major downsizing or closure."
The name of the team is a bit of a misnomer since they don't actually find jobs for anyone but they do develop individual and Service action plans. Come on now, bureaucrats are good planners. At least they will have jobs for a long time as more and more plants close.
2) INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE
To encourage economic activity, help municipalities and enhance Ontario’s competitiveness, the government is investing an additional $1.4 billion to build critical infrastructure.
The Province will allocate some $500 million for transit projects and to assist municipal transitsystems across Ontario in dealing with immediate demands.
This will help increase ridership, address state of good repair, manage congestion and support the efficient movement of peopleand goods.
A $300 million investment will be provided for municipal infrastructure priorities — for projects that stimulate local economies such as roads, bridges, community facilities and water systems.
Projects to be funded will be chosen through a competitive application process. Some of the available funding will be geared specifically to small, northern and rural communities to help bolster their local economies.
In addition, $100 million will be dedicated to priority MoveOntario 2020 projects — the $17.5 billion transit and transportation plan for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This will help municipal transit projects such as the purchase of railcars and buses and track expansion at GO Transit that have been identified as priorities by Metrolinx, formerly the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.
Manufacturers and other business investors cite the quality of infrastructure as one of the most important factors in where to locate and where to invest. Investing in transit and transportation infrastructure helps communities and companies move products to markets and people to work.
These investments also have the added benefit of decreasing congestion and reducing greenhouse gases and air pollutants.
These new investments are in addition to other funding support for municipalities, including the gas tax and the Canada–Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF). The Ministry of Transportation will soon be announcing the allocation of the gas tax. In the near future, the Ontario Government, along with its federal and municipal partners, expects to announce the final round of funding under COMRIF. Municipal infrastructure investments represent another significant step forward in the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review.
The government will continue to make progress on the Highway 407 East extension and the Windsor border because they are particularly important to the manufacturing sector.
Now there is something positive for Windsor. I think. Ontario still will "make progress" but don't you wish that Dwight put his money where his mouth was. I don't remember any financial commitment to Windsor's border in the last budget and I don't see any now.
I do see $1.4 billion minus $500 million minus $300 million minus $100 million leaving only $500 million for the entire province. Now if the DRIC road costs $1.6 billion and Ontario's share is $800 million... how is the road going to be paid for?
If the DRIC road was the most expensive one ever to be built in Ontario, then do you really that the Province will pay the amount that Greenlink will ultimately cost. Don't be so foolish. Remember as well that the Premier liked the DRIC road.
I have an idea that might work. It's sneaky but it saves face for everyone and buys time for the Governments.
When the Ambassador Bridge engineered their suggested corridor to the border, I thought the total cost was about $300 million. Now that amount would have to be increased slightly because of the passage of time but if the Province and the Feds agreed that it is an "intermediate" road, they can fund it under the Border Infrastructure Fund now. They then can build the better road once there is more cash in the till.
Of course that should not be such a big deal since the DRIC road (and Schwartz's)builds on what the Ambassador Bridge proposed years ago. It would be a simple proposition to design and construct the road so that it could accommodate both a road to the existing bridge and to the new bridge if it is ever built.
3) Government reaffirms its commitment to moving forward on the Windsor border gateway project and building on the progress it has made so far.
Yes, the Government should be committed.
The progress has been exceptional in Windsor... the overpass and long left turn lane on Huron Church Road make me proud of what has been accomplished since the signing of the Phase 1 Agreement between the City and the Senior Levels years ago. That certainly has eased the border situation dramatically.
4) Ottawa can do more to assist Ontario municipalities to make much-needed investments in public transit and infrastructure.
Ontario believes that the federal government has missed an opportunity to support investments in infrastructure and transit systems by ignoring repeated requests to provide $1.9 billion a year to municipalities in Ontario.
In June 2007, the Province launched the MoveOntario 2020 initiative to continue to address
transportation infrastructure challenges and further advance Ontario’s priorities in reducing
greenhouse gases and air pollutants. This multi-year, $17.5 billion rapid transit action plan for the GTA and Hamilton will deliver jobs and investment by reducing congestion.
While Ontario continues to invest substantially in the quality of its infrastructure, it is imperative that the federal government invest in it as well. One example of a successful collaboration between the federal and Ontario governments is the joint commitment with U.S. partners to build a new border crossing at Windsor–Detroit.
Ontario is committed to improving its infrastructure, and encourages the federal government to fulfil its commitments to public transit and such projects as the Windsor border gateway as soon as possible.
This is what all of this nonsense is really all about: a fight between Ontario and the Federal Government for a bigger share of money and a bigger split to be paid by the Federal Government.
Windsor and the border are just pawns in the game to be used by either party. In other words, the Province is specifically NOT setting out how much money it would put forward because then their position would be weakened, almost fatally. Clearly the Province wants more than 50% of the amount paid for by the Feds. The Feds have no intention of paying more in my opinion since they would have to provide this bigger share all across Canada.
I was convinced before and still am convinced that the Liberals in Ontario and the Conservatives in Ottawa have agreed to fight their infrastructure battle in the Windsor area and not in areas like Toronto which are key if either Party wants to form a majority Government.
- "I'm deeply concerned that the federal government has not committed more than $400 million," Duncan said."
Windsorites ought to be deeply concerned that Dwight has not committed anything.
5) Ontario is committed to improving its infrastructure, and encourages the federal government to fulfil its commitments to public transit and such projects as the Windsor border gateway as soon as possible.
Yawn... see above
6) The package introduced today would also provide:
$1.4 billion in new funding to build strategic infrastructure;
7) The government will also continue to make progress on the Highway 407 East extension and the Windsor border because they are particularly important to the manufacturing sector. The Detroit River International Crossing study team will soon present its preferred alternative for the new access road, plaza and crossing. Ontario will fully fund its share of the costs associated with that new access road, subject to the successful completion of all approval processes.
Whatever this means. Of course, we don't know the amounts and we don't know what the share is. That's what the fight is all about.
Note also that the Province is limiting the amount that they will pay out for the road only. Everything else is to be paid for by the Feds.
8) The most critical infrastructure investment for the Ontario economy is a new border crossing at Windsor. Stakeholders are unanimous: we need that crossing now.
The Detroit River International Crossing study team will soon present its preferred alternative for the new access road, plaza and crossing.
The Government of Ontario will fully fund its share of the costs associated with that new access road, subject to the successful completion of all approval processes.
As we make these investments, while respecting trade agreements, we will strive to ensure Ontario businesses benefit.
As above. The platitudes just keep on rolling and rolling and rolling. Dwight should be ashamed of himself.