More BLOGMeister Quotations
WILL A DRIC BRIDGE DRAIN MICHIGAN'S ROAD BUDGET
- "New bridges sap budget
With construction for a new Brent Spence Bridge and two other bridge projects in Louisville slated to run into the billions of dollars, there's growing concern in the Kentucky state capitol among rural legislators that their constituents will be shortchanged.
"That's going to be a big problem," Rep. Mike Denham said.
The Louisville bridges will require more than $100 million a year in spending by the state in 14 years of the 18-year project and around $200 million or more in seven of those years.
"It's going to be a very expensive project," Denham said. "And it may take all of our funding for three or four years to get that done."
Don't think this applies in Michigan....think again:
- "A state senator is pushing a measure that would use transportation dollars for maintenance on the Mackinac Bridge rather than toll increases.
Republican Sen. Jason Allen of Traverse City said it makes sense to use $5.25 million in federal transportation funds so tourism and business isn't harmed by the increase, which could hike the toll for cars from $2.50 to $4.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a similar move in 2003, and it didn't sound likely Tuesday that she'd support Allen's idea.
"What Sen. Allen has proposed — earmarking funds for the Mackinac Bridge — would mean that much money would be less available to help other critical roads and bridges around Michigan," Granholm spokeswoman Leslee Fritz said. "Reducing funding that is available for critical roads and bridges is not a direction we believe we should head."
[Sounds like our East End arena deal too with the $70M or so we have to pay off before there are freely available funds]
- "The $4-billion rescue plan for the Canadian automotive industry was applauded Saturday by Ontario mayors, but some warn there's still more to be done.
"I think it's a positive step but, quite frankly, they had one of two ways to go," said Windsor, Ont., Mayor Eddie Francis after Saturday morning's announcement. "Either they were willing to extend a lifeline to the auto industry, or they were just going to allow it to collapse."
[Such insight. No wonder Stephen Harper called him personally!]
SPANKY'S WASTED EFFORTS
- "Chrysler approached Duncan for aid
Meeting with Chrysler chief started ball rolling
"It's been five crazy weeks."
Duncan said that as recently as Thursday he had some doubts that the U.S. plan would go through. He said it was especially difficult knowing how many of his constituents rely on the auto industry.
"This is about the essence of our community's future," said Duncan. "This has been a struggle. Forty-eight hours ago I wasn't certain how this was going to end. We've essentially got a bit of breathing room now. I'm relieved. This is the culmination of five weeks of very intense work."
Duncan said it quickly became apparent that Canada and Ontario would have to get involved.
"I was deathly afraid that there would be an agreement in the U.S. that wouldn't involve Canada," said Duncan. "We deeply had to be there based on our proportion of the share of the sector."
[I don't know why Chrysler did not approach our Mayor instead of the Minister of Finance if they had problems. Eddie would have solved everything on his own.
Why was Dwight so worried and why did he work so hard? There was no need for him to do anything. After all, Eddie sent out a letter to the PM and Premier warning about the death of Windsor. Eddie knew his letter was so powerful that he could afford to leave town on a long-standing family matter instead of meeting the Premier when he came here and could fail to attend Dwight's pre-Budget meeting.
Everything was under control. Eddie had been reassured! Poor Dwight, so envious of Eddie's efforts and success. NOT!]
STATING THE OBVIOUS
- "At the end of the day, reading between the lines, the premiers' comments and the prime minister's comments, change is going to be inevitable," said Francis...
"I'd rather take change that incudes the automotive industry rather than change that does not include the automotive industry..."
Francis said it will take quite a while before the transformation of the industry is complete.
"We won't be in a position to comment on what that is until we see the final plan," said Francis.
[Huh? Do you understand it? What is he saying that is so profound?]
WILL EDDIE'S CANAL VISION FAIL LIKE HIS CLEARY ONE
- "One of the key priorities of council is to re-establish a downtown where people come to live, work and play," Francis said. "This will bring more homes, more stores and people into the downtown. Everything will become more vibrant than what you see today."
[That was said in June, 2006 as we gave away a multi-million dollar asset to the College that could have been sold. How vibrant is our downtown now? Can we afford in these times of economic restraint to waste more taxpayer money on another failed political dream of the Mayor.]
- "Long after the vast majority of fans were well into their first journey home from the Windsor Spitfires new home, Windsor mayor Eddie Francis leaned on a railing and watched the dueling Zambonis restore the sheen to the sparkling new ice surface at the spanking-new WFCU Centre.
"It's like a wedding," Francis said. "You stay around to soak up the atmosphere after everyone's gone."
[Didn't Eddie meet Mr. Farhi, the owner of the Lear site, at a wedding in London? Do you remember how Eddie refused to tell John Fairley on Face-to-Face whose wedding it was!]
POLITICIANS WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES
- Francis, who believes people lose their grasp of what really matters when they spend too much time in the halls of government, away from the real world, has one snarky bit of advice for distracted politicians: "Get your act together."
[I just had to post it again!]
- A Bridge Detroit Needs
By Carlos M. Gutierrez
Congress is debating the future of the American automobile industry. With our economy in crisis, this is not a time for ideology; it's a time for pragmatism and common sense. Amid daunting job losses and unprecedented fiscal challenges, the economy cannot sustain a body blow to one of America's most significant industries without giving it a chance to restructure....
Congress has proposed a bridge loan program in a way that demands accountability and responsibility from the industry. If the legislation passes, it will be up to the automakers to deliver on the promises they have made to the American people, and there are strong taxpayer protections in place.
[Part of a column from the US Secretary of Commerce. I liked the title. It also makes it clear that the Bush Administration has NO desire to spend money on a DRIC Bridge.]
WEEP FOR DETROIT
- "Somewhere along the way, Detroit became our national ashtray, a safe place for everyone to stub out the butt of their jokes. This was never more evident than at the recent congressional hearings, featuring the heads of the Big Three automakers, now more often called the Detroit Three, as that sounds more synonymous with failure...
It happens, though, when you're from Detroit. In the popular imagination, the Motor City has gone from being the Arsenal of Democracy, so named for their converting auto factories to make the weapons which helped us win World War II, and the incubator of the middle class (now leading the nation in foreclosure rates, Detroit once had the highest rate of home ownership in the country), to being Dysfunction Junction. To Detroit's credit, they've earned it."
[You need to read this article "The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep" http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/945aynyk.asp?pg=1 ]
CANALS FOR PITTSBURGH
- Every time I read about or visit Pittsburgh, the powers that be have a new project to prove to themselves that the city actually has a life. Most recently, it's a lame-brained scheme to create a 1.2-mile, $435 million (at least) transit tunnel under the Allegheny River to connect Downtown's heavily subsidized office towers to the North Shore's even more heavily taxpayer-funded pro sports stadiums and a future casino.
Yet, in reality, Pittsburgh's "Tunnel to Nowhere" is simply part of the same old brain-dead development strategy that may impress visiting journalists or conventioneers but creates little in the way of good new jobs or long-term opportunities
[What did Dave Cooke say about the canal vision that just misses the boat, or rather the gondola:
- "Cooke, who was bitterly disappointed that the arena wasn't built downtown but concedes that's a dead issue, argues Windsor must do something unique with that sterile expanse of pavement west of the bus terminal in order to revive downtown and get visitors, including convention delegates, to change the conversation, now largely negative, about Windsor...
all of Windsor has an economic stake in seeing this city become the kind of place that sends visitors home with fond memories and great impressions to pass on to friends and relatives."]
A $5B DRIC PROJECT
- "Speaking as part of a panel at the Toronto Forum for Global Cities, Michael Rolland, the president and CEO of Borealis Infrastructure -- a company that invests on behalf of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System -- said that pension fund capital is increasingly flowing into international projects.
“More of our money is leaving the country,” Rolland said, explaining that Borealis invests in some of the largest infrastructure projects worldwide. Borealis is responsible for investing roughly 20% of OMERS’ pension fund assets into infrastructure.
“We’d like to stay home and do our business,” Rolland added, “but I have an obligation to the pensioners to make sure I do a good job with their pension money. They’re counting on that money for their retirement. If the projects aren’t here, we’ll go anywhere in the world to find those right partnerships.
Pension funds represent a major source of capital in Canada, and are frequently overlooked even though they have pools of capital much larger than those of the banks, Rolland said. Five of Canada’s pension plans are among the 100 largest worldwide.
Many Canadian infrastructure projects are too small to attract the interest of pension funds, which is why much of the capital is flowing abroad, according to Rolland. For instance, many municipal projects seek between $10 million and $30 million in equity, which is too small an investment for large-scale pension funds.”
[Now I know why it is so costly. Mind you, after the losses taken by some of the Plans in the stock market collapse and the values of infrastructure and private equity holdings being re-evaluated, we shall see if Plans have to ask their contributors for more money as OMERS had to do several years ago with their $600M write-down.]
- "Final phase of 401 widening will be huge problem, Chief Glenn Stannard says
Windsor police Chief Glenn Stannard warned city councillors to expect four years of traffic snarls as the final leg of the Highway 401 expansion begins on the outskirts of Windsor in 2008.
"Just close your eyes and visualize adding 50 per cent of that traffic, including truck traffic, at 8 o'clock in the morning on E.C. Row," he said Monday during council's planning session.
"It's going to be a huge problem for this community."
Stannard said one of his inspectors realized there would be serious problems after attending an information session about the work that's been taking place to expand Highway 401"
[Too bad that inspector could not visualize the traffic problems at the East End Arena by looking into his crystal ball or was there a reason why gridlock was necessary so the City can justify spending more millions on the Arena deal for parking but NOT make it part of the original budget!]