Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Budget And Our "Cheap" Solution

Be careful what you have nightmares over, for it might actually come true.

Thanks to the Mayor talking about the "cheap" solution that the Senior Levels want to impose on Windsor, I think we are actually going to get it. Just do the math, if the Feds put in $400 million in the Budget, with no increase this time around as the Mayor clearly expected, as their 50% amount, then the Province would add their 50% or $400 million which means the amount of money available for a border road is $800 million.

Why then would the Senior Levels add in another $800 million to build the DRIC road. If you are going to be criticized as being "cheap" by the Mayor and Council for putting in $1.6 billion to build a DRIC road, then one may as well save $800 million and put in the true "cheap" solution.

I do not really believe that the Senior Levels will leave Windsor without doing something but my suspicion after the Federal Budget is that what they will do here will be the minimum required.

The way it will be done I believe is the following. The Wilbur Smith investment-grade traffic survey will demonstrate conclusively what the Ambassador Bridge Company people have been saying now for some time: that the traffic is not there to justify the building of a DRIC bridge at this time.

The "at this time" will be the face-saving way for the Senior Levels to table DRIC and allow the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project to go forward. After all, at the budget meeting last night, the dividend to be paid by the Windsor Tunnel Commission to the City is now said to be zero due to "decrease in cross-border traffic." How can a new bridge be justified especially when it is supposed to take away a quarter of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel business. The Mayor will go ballistic since his valuable asset will be decreased in value dramatically by the DRIC action.

Since the Ambassador Bridge project is not adding capacity but rather is a providing a facility to replace their old one, it would be viewed as an intermediate measure until such time as the traffic increases.

As an existing structure, then the Senior Levels under the extended BIF program can provide several hundred million dollars to build an intermediate road to the Enhancement Project bridge. That road comes under an existing Government program to which some money can be added that has already been set aside at least under the Federal Budget.

Don't forget as well the Gong Show $500 million from Dwight Duncan that is supposed to be available after 2010 which I believe will provide the Province's share of the cost of that road. Why else hasn't the Province put any money in so far. They don't have it until 2010!

The timing is almost perfect for Dwight Duncan who has said "THE MAYOR IS WRONG. THE MAYOR IS WRONG" to blame everything on Eddie. Dwight will be the saviour who will bring us at least 7500 jobs as he said in one of his comments recently.

My recollection is that a number of years ago the Bridge Company said that a road could be built along the DRIC corridor at a cost of around $300 million. Add into that the cost of inflation and some "green" aspects and I would believe that the cost would fall well within the $800 million budget.

Someone obviously led the Mayor astray with respect to what the Federal Government was going to do. Knowing our Mayor, he would only say something if he knew it was going to be true. He never makes mistakes you know. Listen then to the clip from CKLW to hear how confident he was that there was going to be money that he wanted to be used for Greenlink in the Budget.

Thanks then to the stalling and the ridiculous positions put forward by our Mayor, we will now get the "cheap" solution that he is been talking about for so long. Had he negotiated from a position of cooperation rather than of threats and lawsuits, we might have achieved a lot of what we wanted. More importantly people would actually be working now rather than looking for moving companies so they can find a job in another location.

For Councillors to continue to be united behind a lame-duck Mayor who is failing boggles my mind. I assume that a whole bunch of them want to be retired as well and that's why they just don't care about the electorate.