More Border Tales
Here are a few that should tickle your fancy:
HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
There were screams of joy and shouts of happiness from across the river in Delray when the Brighton beach deal in Canada was announced.
Remeber the past Star story
- "A Windsor Star report six weeks ago cited estimates of $50,000 per acre and up."
Actually, it was $50,000 and down since I was told that the biggest piece of property before sold by the City for less than that amount.
For $34M, the Feds bought 94 acres or about $362,000 per acre or over 7 times as much.
Well anything that Canada can do, the Americans can and now must do better. Delray residents can now ask for 7 times the amounts offered to date. And there will be a lot of them too:
- "On the American side, none of the 235 acres needed for the bridge structure, the plaza or the interchanges have been purchased, says MDOT spokesman Bill Schreck."
Not only did Canada sucker the Americans re the DRIC project and got them in the middle of several nasty lawsuits, now the costs for the project have gone sky-high. Michigan Republicans just have received an early election issue!
And for those Windsorites whining about their price, if they have not sold out yet, they have just hit the lottery jackpot and did not have to buy a ticket! The ones who sold out better get a lawyer to see if they can get more money somehow!
I know, they can call Brian Masse. He will argue anything since as a member of the NDP he will never be held accountable since they will never form a Government.
Wow, Eddie is a great negotiator after all. 7 times the value of any other land sold in the area by the City.
Now we know what Minister Baird meant when he said this:
- "The deadline has passed, but Windsor still has an opportunity to receive federal funding for a $48-million downtown canal project, Canada’s transportation and infrastructure minister said Wednesday...
But John Baird suggested Wednesday the project could be included when Ottawa reveals its infrastructure allocation to the city.
“The deadline was Friday, but we hope to come forward in short order on further economic stimulus for Windsor which badly needs it,” said the minister, in Windsor for a border transportation conference."
Nice neat way to use Federal cash
WHAT WILL BRIAN AND JOE DO
A good member of the Oppostion should be jumping all over this obvious overpayment. Brian should be doing the most screaming exactly because, if Eddie runs federally, it will be against him.
Brian is damned if he does and damned if he does not. Is it any wonder that he and Joe have done zero so far. But that is par for the course for the NDP even when they had the balance of power in Parliament.
Oh heck, why don't our NDP members write a nice letter to the Auditor General demanding a complete investigation in this.
I would have suggested writing as well to Louis Ranger, the former Deputy Minister at Transport, but he suddenly left Government service so he cannot be reached. I wonder if he approved the deal.
THERE WAS NO WAR
Senatore Kenny should be ashamed of himself. He was no different than Orson Welles telling us that the Martians were coming.
Remember what the Senator's Report said:
- "The type of cautious, step-by-step, approach currently underway is clearly the most intelligent approach for non-urgent projects. This is not one of them. Windsor-Detroit is of such strategic importance to both Canada and the United States that fixing it requires war-time urgency.
What the process fails to take into account is the possibility that the Partnership’s timelines are unrealistic and likely to slip and that a crossing could be permanently disrupted between now and the completion of a new crossing."
Well several years later and the DRIC project has just slipped to 2015, at he least. He should be shocked and be demanding armed guards at the border shouldn't he. Instead, all he can say is:
- "I'm very concerned that it's been delayed past 2013 but if it's coming it's very good news for people in southern Ontario and Windsor in particular."
SENATOR KENNY PREJUDICES ENVIRONMENTAL HEARINGS
DUH Senator, what the heck does this mean since there are only 2 locations where a new bridge can go:
- "We think another bridge, not necessarily an Ambassador Bridge, we think another bridge is very important," said Kenny...
Kenny would not identify his preferred location for the new crossing, citing the ongoing DRIC process."
Gee Senator, I think you did put your foot in the wrong place!
KENNY SHOULD SPEAK TO VAN LOAN
The Senator is a broken record. He completely fails to remember how the bad guys operate: they take down several targets miles apart:
- "I don't think it should be at this location," said Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, who toured the bridge plaza along with committee deputy chairwoman Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin.
"The idea of twinning this facility makes no sense because if this facility went down, you'd lose both of them," he said.
"So, let's have it at another location."
However, the easy answer is reverse customs. The Senator should be talking to the Conservative Minister about what he said before about the Ambassador Bridge but what now seems to have been dropped. As I Blogged before:
- "Clearly "security" is no longer an issue for Canada. Remember some months ago that Minister Van Loan suggested having a "reverse customs" pilot project at the Ambassador Bridge:
"He also got a commitment from Napolitano that Washington will look again at the idea of what is called land pre-clearance, he said.
Under a proposal favoured by Ottawa, American officials would check U.S.-bound trucks on the Canadian side of the border and vice versa, easing trade bottlenecks.
Van Loan said he suggested a pilot project at the Windsor-Detroit border but nothing was settled."
I guess it was not raised when they met so it cannot be that much of an issue any more. Another reason for a DRIC bridge gone!
THE CUPBOARD WAS BAIRD
Jeff Watson instead of the Minister to hand out a big cheque. Why the Minister did not want to appear in Windsor so much that he went to China instead!
So much for this statement:
- "Unlike the city’s ongoing spat with the province over their divergent respective plans for the highway approach to the new border crossing, the city’s dealings with the federal government over the actual new bridge and customs plaza have been smooth."
ANOTHER STAR CORRECTION NEEDED
The Star had run two stories and an Editorial on the Brookings Institution Report and did not say a thing about their conclusion of the Ambassador Bridge being built first meaning there was no need for a DRIC Bridge because traffic volumes were so low.
My theory was they chose NOT to report that in the hopes that people would not even look at the Report. Only my readers would know the truth.
And then this, buried in this story:
- "No waivering in support of DRIC bridge
Earlier this week, a study commissioned by the Brookings Institution questioned the need for a second span at the Ambassador Bridge and voiced its support for the DRIC project."
It is wrong and the Star knows it or ought to know it since presumably the Report was read! The Report said the following as I Blogged before:
- "There was no need for the DRIC bridge since Brookings said that the DIBC bridge would be built first!!!
"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"
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."
TRAFFIC JUSTIFICATION IS DEAD
Brookings effectively killed that argument, the supposed reason for building the DRIC Bridge.
Now a big backer of DRIC did so as well:
- "We need two crossings, regardless of what the Ambassador Bridge plans to do, because we have to plan for future growth,” said Bradley [president of the Ontario Trucking Association]. “Not doing so is what got us into this mess in the first place.”
While acknowledging that traffic levels have declined because of a slowdown in the automotive industry, Fedchun [executive director of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association] said he believes that the industry will slowly recover and “we have to be ready with the capacity when it does.
“Crystal balls are always a little cloudy and, while I believe it will be a long recovery, we need to be ready when it happens,” said Fedchun. “And it’s never been very palatable to our members to use Huron Church Road and freeway-to-freeway access is far more efficient.”
Now we need to look at future growth through cloudy crystal balls. Oh please.
They have no problems in taxpayers spending billions to pay for these projects even though there is no traffic and who knows when it will come back.
It is a shame that no one asked them if their members will pay the sky-high toll prices necessary to support the DRIC bridge since it will be a P3 project or will they whine and cry and demand that the crossing be subsidized by taxpayers too in the public interest.
SANDRA READS MY BLOGS
What a shot at Spanky eh:
- "Pupatello gives economic pep talk to Rotary Club of Windsor (1918)
'The darkest days are behind us'
Designers of a new Windsor-Detroit border crossing have an opportunity to put this region on the global map and it's an opportunity which shouldn't be wasted, said MPP Sandra Pupatello.
While acknowledging the province of Ontario will have no input into the final design of the region's third border crossing, Pupatello said she favours "an iconic design, something that will be recognizable around the world in an instant."
I guess that Spanky forgot his constitutional law. Sandra did not!