Will Ontario Infrastructure Finance Detroit
I am glad that Eddie took a day off to go to Chicago to speak at the Annual Richard J. Daley Urban Forum on the subject of "The New Urban Dwellers: Addressing the Challenge and Opportunity of Urbanization."
He must be really dedicated to get up so early, 4 AM I heard, to fly YQG to Toronto and then back to Chicago. Most others would have gone to Detroit Metro to fly to Chicago non-stop. Ms Nazzani will be pleased. You know I am kidding right. Perhaps he drove there.
Actually, Eddie was in Chicago to promote Windsor's newest entrepreneurial business: financing American and other foreign cities with budget problems using Ontario Government Infrastructure money. It's a sure thing too!
I was quite amused that our Infrastructure Ontario Loan Fund could be used to help pay off the Detroit budget debt as an example. I wonder if other US cities are aware of our cheap financing program to help them with their operating budget issues. We can be their banker borrowing at one rate and loaning out money at a profit. We are so wealthy here in Ontari-ari-arioooo.
I noted with interest the comment made by Steve Dyck, a spokesman for the agency, who said
- “the tunnel deal would qualify under the loan program."
I wondered how this could be:
- "All Ontario municipalities are eligible to apply for a loan from Infrastructure Ontario. For more information on eligibility requirements please see the Program Guidelines.
The OSIFA Loan Program provides affordable financing for all capital investments, including but not limited to:
Water, wastewater and sewage infrastructure
Roads and bridges
Culture, tourism, administration and recreation infrastructure
Energy efficiency projects (windows, doors, lighting, etc.)
Water, hydro, HVAC and communications systems
Ambulances, fire trucks, snow ploughs, garbage trucks and rolling stock
Ferries and docks
Local police and fire stations
Asset management tools and systems
Hmmmm nothing about American City loans here nor to get an interest in a US-owned Tunnel encumbered by an operating agreement that lasts about another dozen years.
I do note that the City will need to get an interim bridge financing loan (now that's a funny pun) since
- "NOTE: Proceeds of the loan can only flow after a financing agreement has been executed and expenditures have been incurred." and that
"Infrastructure Ontario has the right, at its discretion, to terminate the agreement if a borrower is in default of its obligations. In addition, Infrastructure Ontario is authorized to request the Minister of Finance to intercept certain provincial grants to the borrower in the case of default."
I tried under Municipal Corporations since the new Tunnel Corporation would be one I assume:
- "Municipal Corporations
Since 2006, the OSIFA Loan Program has helped to make a difference in communities across Ontario by providing affordable loans to municipal corporations. Municipal corporations can include: local distribution companies, gas utilities, municipal Long-term care homes, local housing corporations, utility telecoms, transit corporations or social housing corporations."
Infrastructure Ontario loans can be used for any capital investments, including but not limited to:
Facility expansion, renovation and retrofits
Energy conservation retrofits
Overhead wiring and underground cabling, gas lines, pipe work
Any development or asset classified as a capital expenditure
Switchgear and pole structures
Smart Meter installation
Alternative energy generation facilities
Vehicles and maintenance equipment
Hmmmm maybe "Transportation infrastructure" could be the excuse if we ignore that the money is for American Infrastructure, not for a project in Ontario.
Take a look at the kind of projects being examined today by the Government Department: http://www.infrastructureontario.ca/en/projects/index.asp and check out what has been done for Windsor already: http://www.infrastructureontario.ca/en/projects/gallery.asp
No disrespect intended for my Detroit scolder but we frankly have our own concerns to deal with before the Province should try and make Eddie a hero.
And who says that the amount of the loan is only for $75M. We have made that assumption haven't we without knowing what the facts are. Is there a greater sum being asked for?
Go and check out the press releases to see what kind of projects generally receive loans: medical ones primarily for hospitals as in Windsor. No wonder "More than 90 per cent of loan applications, end up getting approved" http://www.infrastructureontario.ca/en/news/index.asp
- "The Ontario Strategic Infrastructure Financing Authority will continue to develop and implement an infrastructure renewal loan program that provides efficient and affordable financing to meet critical municipal, health and housing infrastructure priorities."
The only thing "critical" or a priority in the Tunnel project is Eddie's future, not ours! Time to end this newest boondoggle.
Surely Eddie will be back home soon since it is only a one day conference. On the other hand, there is also at the same time the first-ever 3-day U.S.-Arab Cities Forum hosted also by Chicago's Mayor. I wonder if Eddie is attending that too. Perhaps he is looking for oil money as a last resort!
I am sure that Eddie will return in time for the DRIC road unveiling and to comment on the really important issue: the Spitfire's contract. It is due to be released this week too. Hmmm I wonder which will make the bigger story.