Windsor's I-696 Is Coming
The gist of what he points out is that government imposed emission standards both for diesel fuel and diesel engines as well as using new techniques for highway construction mean:
- “Greenlink is unnecessary to deal with air quality issues. Highway design as well tough new regulations deal with this issue more than adequately.
The question is, why hasn’t this been prominently discussed by either the Province or the City of Windsor?”
Not only is Greenlink unnecessary but so is the DRIC road. They are virtually the same anyway.
Hours and hours and hours of listening to the City consultants and lawyers yapping on at Council, deliberately scary stories put out into the media about death and children and volumes of materials from DRIC, Francis lullabies and what Chris points out seems to be ignored.
Of course, what that means is there really is no need for DRIC tunnels or Greenlink Schwunnels and it may even mean that a “cheap” at grade solution is not only feasible but is practical. Why spend billions supposedly to protect us from truck emissions when there will be few emissions within the foreseeable future. That makes no sense to me in a time of economic restraint.
I have Blogged about this subject before as has Schnurr. The information that we have talked about is easily found on the Internet and the answer is hardly startling.
I am no air quality expert but the people retained by DRIC and the City are. Don’t you find it strange that these experts are not discussing this matter? I would have thought that DRIC could easily dismiss Greenlink out of hand by talking about the drastic reduction in particulate emissions. However, they did not do so until a recent Press Release and even then the information provided was minimal.
The question that needs asking is why not? Why isn’t this information being distributed to citizens rather than scare stories about children dying? Why isn’t DRIC taking a much more aggressive position with respect to the City?
Could it be that the Senior Levels and the City are working together in one giant charade? Could it be that this is an agreed-to action of the three Government partners in their alliance against the Bridge Company?
The answer has to be: YES. We are being DELRAY-ed.
We are being promised one thing to make us happy and keep us quiet but when the time is right, we will be given something else, something completely unexpected. It will be too late then.
You may wonder how I can make this allegation. We have the nastiness between our Mayor and the Province, the fight over money between the Province and the Feds involving the split as to who should pay what with respect to the border crossing, and the on-again off-again “friendship” between the City and the Federal Government.
You cannot take these squabbles seriously. That is all that they are, family feuds. The three Governments have to be in an alliance against their common enemy, the Bridge Company, and all that they are doing is trying to obtain for themselves the biggest share of the spoils.
There is more to it than that. Of course there are animosities but they have to be buried for the common good after all. I believe that Eddie is causing problems with respect to his relationship with both Dwight and Sandra. His negative comments and that of his cheerleaders and sycophants have enraged the Minister of Finance and, before the provincial election, terrified the MITI Minister. They are starting to beat up on her again since she is viewed as the one at risk. The Province folded before when she was put in jeopardy. Try it again and see what happens seems to be one approach.
Note some on the Star have to be concerned that this is a dumb strategy that could backfire since she can bring new investments here. How else to explain the kiss-up Editorial in her defence the other day re expenses.
There is no doubt that Eddie is pushing the envelope when he starts accusing the Premier of biasing the DRIC project. That could be the most dangerous move of all that could hurt this City badly.
To me, the clearest example of letting the Mayor get away with abusing was when the DRIC people were at City Council and they took all the harrassment from the Mayor and Councillors and said nothing. I can recall seeing MTO’s Fausto Natarelli seething at some of the remarks but he followed his orders from on high and did not do anything about it. However, when they made a similar presentation at the County right afterwards, they were quite strong in their response to questions. The contrast between the two sessions was quite remarkable. Clearly, the DRIC people were told to allow our Council to look like the protectors of the City of Windsor residents.
You have to remember one other matter. It is very clear that the Province had no money for the project until after 2010. You can remember the $500M Gong Show comments by the Provincial Ministers that confirmed that and also the comment by the former Transport Minister Cansfield before the last election that made that abundantly clear. No money would come until 2010 at the earliest.
Why else do you think that our WEAK-LING Mayor is only threatening lawsuits and not starting one! He talks about the 30 week timeframe in which he can make representations to the Minister of the Environment and talks about nothing happening until 2010 in reality. Don’t you find the year 2010 interesting as well.
I can remember speaking with the DRIC consultants early on in this matter and wondering why they did not rely upon a Court of Appeal decision that would have allowed them to reduce significantly the scope of the work that they had to do. The answer should be obvious by now… nothing was to be done in the short term but to stretch DRIC out as long as possible.
Even now, there has to be some concern about whether this project can move forward because of the economic meltdown. Do you want to know what is hilarious… in the magazine Renew Canada, they reviewed the Top 100 Infrastructure projects in Canada. Where was the Windsor border project ranked? #1, in the top 10, in the top 25%… nope. It ranked #81 at a cost of only $128 million. Where did the billions go?
It certainly appears clear to me that all of this stalling with respect to the Schwartz Reports, tunnelling and Schwunnelling fits in beautifully by extending the time period for which a decision should have been reached by years. Do you really believe that the Minister of Finance would risk an attack under the Members’ Integrity Act by meeting with the Mayor in a car to the airport whereby they discussed the road to the border? It is all part of an urban legend that was leaked and deliberately spread.
Seriously, what is the argument about over the road to the border. Not the route as it once was. It is all about parklands, greenspace, linking communities. Should we have almost 4 km of green space over the road or only about 2 km. No conversation about who will look after all this new parkland or who will police it. We are well past the issue as to whether the road should be at grade or below grade. We have not heard any input by the Security people as to whether tunnels or Schwunnels are a huge security risk as they are.
If you are a resident of Delray, Michigan this would all sound very familiar. They were shown artists renditions of what their community would look like with a new DRIC bridge. They spent many hours talking about the parks and marinas and the new housing as well as the Community Benefits programs.
Of course, as I Blogged before, they may have been taken aback when they were told:
- “C. Another community member asked about the surrounding neighborhoods and revitalization of those neighborhoods.
R. Joe Corradino spoke about the conceptual plans to revitalize the area. He noted such plans need a partnership among government agencies and the private sector to succeed.
C. Bob Benson noted revitalization of the community is not MDOT’s responsibility. MDOT will make recommendations; it will be someone else’s responsibility to implement those plans. Some people may have the impression that MDOT is going to lead the revitalization of the area.
R. Mohammed Alghurabi noted MDOT is responsible for the DRIC study. And MDOT will be responsible to build the new bridge, plaza and interchange, if the project is approved. He noted MDOT will need partners to revitalize Delray.
Q. What will it take to implement the conceptual land use plan for Delray that the DRIC Study Team proposed?
A. It will take a partnership among many units of government, including the City of Detroit, and the private sector. MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration can serve as a catalyst and make some but not all the investments. And, the DRIC Study Team believes it will take 20 to 25 years to fully revitalize Delray as portrayed in the conceptual land use plans.
Q. Are there funds allocated/budgeted to make the plan a reality?
A. No. Action on the plan, even by MDOT and FHWA, requires that it be approved. That is not scheduled to happen, if it happens, until the latter part of 2008."
Finally, it appears that reality has hit. Members of the Delray community made these startling comments in a recent Local Advisory/Local Agency Group meeting:
- “He said he was disappointed with the lack of progress on the Community Benefits Program (CBP) requests. He felt that many of the benefits were items for which he already paid taxes. He said he had hoped the future in Delray would be made better by the DRIC, but now felt Delray would go down with or without the DRIC. Of the 62 items submitted by the Community Benefits Coalition, almost all had come back “no.” He does not consider that MDOT working together with the community. He prefers to be disappointed without a bridge than with a bridge.
R. It is important to note that the combined cost of community benefits for the DIFT and DRIC projects is almost $40 million. There is no housing in this, because MDOT cannot do housing…
She had particular concerns: … 3) though MDOT is spending $40 million on enhancements on the two projects, other projects in the nation are spending up to 15 percent.
R. Comment acknowledged.
C. Scott Briggs said to put the $40 million in perspective, the study cost is $33 million…
R. Comment acknowledged.”
The point I am making is that we are being fooled in this Cty by the three levels of Government. In my opinion they are working together and have worked together for years. It is nice to talk about a road costing 10 times as much as any other road in Ontario but we are not going to get it. Just as the people in Delray were used until reality hit home, so too our members of the Windsor community.
Whether it is a lawsuit for judicial review that kills the DRIC Road or whether it is done by agreement or whether it is due to the economic meltdown or who knows how, at the appropriate time we too will see the end of our so-called DRIC/Greenlink dream. Reality will come home and we will be lucky if we get the equivalent of an Interstate 696 road.
Don’t be surprised. If Government Representatives can claim that traffic volumes are sufficient to fund a DRIC project in the face of numbers showing huge declines, then they expect that they can tell us anything and we will believe them.
All of these distractions have focused our attention on the wrong issue. We are not talking about the BRIDGE and the BRIDGE COMPANY. But that is the point isn’t it.