BLOGEXTRA: Border DISinformation
If there is anything that demonstrates positively the Governmental desperation and the failure of the DRIC attempt to browbeat a private enterprise operation into submission then this is it.
Mind you, after beating up and effectively nationalizing banks, insurance companies and automobile companies, what's a mere bridge operator.
I thought that I understood how to read English and to comprehend.
My analysis of the Brookings Institution report was correct based on what was said in the Report: There was no need for a DRIC bridge since the Enhancement Project bridge would be built first.
In fact, the Brookings Report was probably written before there was confirmation that the DRIC bridge would be delayed by at least 2 more years since they talked about 2013 as the completion date not as the "target date."
Imagine my shock when I read the Detroit News online on Tuesday afternoon and saw the headline:
- "Report: Second Ambassador Bridge span no longer needed"
How could this be I wondered.
Reading to the end of the story I saw this:
- "John Austin, co-director of Brookings Institution's Great Lakes Economic Initiative, says the Obama administration needs to "throw its weight" behind the DRIC efforts to build a second span.
"The governor and other politicians are just not doing their job. We're tied up in knots on who to support, and much of it has to with the political influence of Matty Moroun," Austin said. "We hope that the Obama can punch through the local politics and have the feds finally settle the issue," he said."
There was no basis whatsoever for his political statement based on what the Report actually said. The Report talked about the lack of traffic and waste of billions of taxpayer dollars not politics. Austin made a mockery of what the author concluded.
Moreover, sloppy journalism contributed to the headline. The reporter failed to include in his story this key Report comment:
- "However, the DRIC is expected to be completed later than the DIBC barring additional delays to either project, and concern over the auto industry and the potential for lower traffic volumes due to reduced automotive industry shipments casts doubt on the need to proceed with both the DIBC and DRIC..
Declining traffic figures, if sustained into 2009, undermine the case for the investment of billions of dollars in new border infrastructure after years of contentious debate and planning has already taken place"
I immediately wrote to the reporter to point out the error and asked him to correct the story. I got back this note:
- "Thanks for the response. I asked the author's of the report to clarify the stance and it's clear they favor the DRIC expansion."
I wrote back and said
- "It may be what they favour but NOT what they wrote..."
I also decided to take on Austin and emailed him:
- "Did you actually read the report
If so, how could you be quoted in the Detroit News as saying:
The actual report said there was no need for the DRIC bridge since Brookings said that the DIBC bridge would be built first!!!
[Key quote above]
It is the DRIC project that costs billions, not the Ambassador Bridge project!...
As you know the DRIC project has been delayed for at least 2 more years until 2015 because of traffic declines and lack of P3 money.
I can understand that the Detroit Chamber was upset at what the Report said but your comment was absolutely incorrect and you need to correct it forthwith.
If you want to make a political statement then feel free to do so but not as a member of the Institution whose Report said the exact opposite."
The News also reported about who helped back the Report:
- "A study backed by the Detroit Regional Chamber contends a second span of the Ambassador Bridge is no longer needed because of the slowdown in the North American auto industry that has cut truck traffic on the privately owned bridge by 33 percent since 2007."
Here is the Chamber's position and it is NOT pro-Ambassador Bridge Company:
- "On January 14, the United States government issued a long-awaited decision approving a new Detroit, MI-Windsor, Ontario, Canada border crossing system over the Detroit River. The Record of Decision, issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is the final environmental clearance for the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study for a proposed new border crossing system just north of Zug Island....
"This is great news. We not only supported this initiative, but we stand ready to work closely with the Michigan Department of Transportation and Canadian government officials to build the economic future for our region," said Richard Blouse Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber. "We believe an additional crossing between the United States and Canada will enhance our regional positioning as a logistics hub and assist in our strategy to create new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity."
I would bet that the Chamber has to be furious that the Brookings Report came out and said the opposite to what they hoped.
Poor Brookings! Poor Chamber!! They just made it easy for the Bridge Company to win! Isn't it ironic, don't you think!
It just boggles my mind. What troubles me as a taxpayer is not just what is going on in the border file. It is merely ONE project. How many other messes are there out there that I am paying for that I do not know about.
Can you, dear reader, whatever your position on the border is, understand now why the Bridge Company sued! What other choice do they have when someone is prepared to destroy their business using this kind of tactic.