Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Invisible Bridge Company Lawsuit Against MDOT

I don’t get it. It has been reported. Sort of. The odd line here and there but nothing more!

The big lawsuit between the Bridge Company and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Oh not that silly MDOT Ambassador Gateway reactionary lawsuit that was just reported. Read more about that from the Bridge Company's perspective in the BLOG below. That is just about the worst thing MDOT could have done from a strategic perspective. Who the heck is advising them on litigation tactics? Transport Canada???

I mean the lawsuit already started by the Bridge Company against MDOT. Very few know about that one! You will understand why shortly as you read on

Poor Governor Granholm. And her hubby if he has Governor aspirations since she is term limited. MDOT with their lawsuit may have damaged her chances for a good job after she leaves office and destroyed his. What a wonderful present as well for the Republicans for the next election. I can just picture the headlines as the discovery process unfolds.

Chris Vander Doelen in the Star claims:
  • “Not that the struggle to plan and build the new bridge is over yet. But it's getting to the late chapters.

    Nobody expects Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun to give up trying to preserve his control of border truck traffic now. Not after years of plotting and scheming to block construction of competing crossings, whether road or rail.

    But with the boot of the U.S. government on his neck, the wily old tycoon is certainly down for the count. Does he have one more trick up his sleeve? I'm betting he tries one, even if it doesn't work.”

As a contrarian, I would say that we are at the Preface stage. We have not even entered Chapter 1. If Moroun is shaking, it is not with terror but of laughter. He does not need to do anything but watch as his Opposition self-destructs in front of him.

Why hasn’t the media picked up the other lawsuit. Why hasn’t MDOT issued a press release denouncing it? They dare not. It explains in the most graphic terms why the Ambassador Bridge has spent $500 million to build their Enhancement Bridge and why they are so angry now.

It explains MDOT's actions in no uncertain terms.

I am attaching the narrative part of the lawsuit for your reading enjoyment! Click the top right of the document so you can read it better. It gives a history of the project that not many have known about including I would suspect many members of the bureaucracy and certainly not many Legislators. I am sure there are more surprises awaiting the right moment.

Of course, this is from the Bridge Company’s perspective. Who knows what MDOT will say in reply. However, from seeing how they operate, the Bridge Company rarely makes a rash statement and can back up their allegations.

Effectively the claim is very simple to understand. MDOT and the Bridge Company are partners on the Ambassador Gateway project which was designed to accommodate a second bridge. The State received money from the Feds based on the project as well based on what the State represented the project to be. The Bridge Company is ready to build their bridge. Lo and behold the State is effectively working against their partner with a third party group, DRIC, to undercut their partnership and put the Bridge Company out of business by taking away most of their business. The Bridge Company wants that stopped by the Courts.

Impossible you say. No one would do that to a partner. Yet, here is what Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Transportation, Bruce McCuaig, said recently:

  • “We must also take decisive action and be willing to take on formidable challenges if we are to secure prosperous futures for our respective jurisdictions – jurisdictions that are increasingly interconnected.

    An excellent example for Ontario is the planning underway for a proposed new Detroit River International Crossing in the Windsor-Detroit Gateway.

    The planning effort for new crossing of the Detroit River began in 1999 with our colleagues in Michigan.”

Planning for the new crossing was started before the ink on the Agreement with the Bridge Company was barely dry!

Now you know why MDOT has not attacked the lawsuit publicly so far. What is being alleged would become public and some difficult questions would have to be answered.

Oh MDOT will have an answer, you can bet on that. Here is the approach they will take as reported in Crains:

  • “The organizations have also split over the role of the second Ambassador Bridge span in the context of the Gateway Project. DIBC and some MDOT records obtained by Crain’s show that the project was designed to incorporate a new span, but MDOT officials and political and activist opponents of the project say Gateway was simply a traffic improvement effort that had nothing to do with a second span.”

Didn’t you like the part, unless you are from MDOT,

  • “some MDOT records obtained by Crain’s show that the project was designed to incorporate a new span.”

This is getting ugly. And it is only the beginning. Unless cooler heads finally prevail and the parties sit down and resolve their differences, we are into another decade or two of make work for lawyers.

More importantly, we in Windsor are losing our chances for getting thousands of high-paying infrastructure jobs to tide us over until our economic diversification takes place.

What a mess.