Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, November 05, 2009

DRIC By The Numbers

Is there a politician around in Canada or the US who will finally stand up and demand that DRIC be killed before more millions are wasted at a time when our economy needs every penny? Why are they so afraid to do the obvious?

I am sorry but I am going to sound somewhat "shrill" in this BLOG. Bear with me please and you will understand.

You truly will NOT believe what I will tell you. You will shake your head in amazement and think that I am making all of this up.

You will not be able to blame me after reading this BLOG. In fact, I think many of you will have no choice but to join me as you see money being taken from your wallets right in front of your eyes. Read on, dear reader, read on.

Does no one in Government or the Bureaucracy or their consultants have any shame? Do they have to beat Matty Moroun so badly that they cannot stop no matter how much it costs taxpayers. We are in a near-Depression for God's sake, doesn't anyone care?

I am so sick of our decision-makers wasting so much of my money that I cannot stomach it any more. And this is just ONE project! Imagine the waste in governments across North America. The Auditor-General of Canada merely scratches at the surface of lack of any accountability whatsoever in her Reports.

I am truly sorry I keep picking on Transport Canada's Sean O'Dell, Executive Director, Windsor Gateway Project, but making ludicrous statements like this infuriated me. He deserves the scorn. Surely, he cannot believe what he was saying especially since by then he had a Wilbur Smith investment grade traffic survey or two which the Canadian Government is afraid to release for reasons that should be obvious now:
  • "Moroun will lose some traffic, but there's more than enough business to go around."
Where is there more traffic? He can read the numbers as well as you and I can. Is he so insulated from the real world in Ottawa? Did he fail math at school?

Click on each of the graphs above and look at the numbers for yourself. If Ohio actually builds their own Casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo as they just approved in a vote, we may have no auto traffic at all!

Car traffic numbers have dropped at the Bridge and Tunnel by almost 50% since 1999. Truck traffic has been steadier but showed virtually no growth. Then in 2008 and 2009, the bottom dropped out with the collapse of the auto industry in the region and the manufacturing decline.

How is it ever going to come back and when? DRIC projections have not been right so far. What makes anyone think that will change!

Now you understand why DRIC consultants had to cannibalize traffic from all of the other crossings in order to try and pretend that the DRIC Bridge could pay for itself with tolls from users while at the same time Transport Canada was telling the Senate that they had no intention of hurting the Bridge Company.

The Ambassador Gateway project itself can handle almost double the number of trucks crossing the border today WITHOUT the need for another bridge. No one can finance a multi-billion dollar DRIC project from user tolls with these kinds of numbers UNLESS there will be a huge Government subsidy or guarantee along the lines of what Infrastructure Ontaruio is proposing for the DRIC Raod.

Are they all mad!

What's the big deal, right? I have written about this ad nauseum before except without such dramatic tables. BUT there is more.

Remember what the Legislature required of MDOT:
  • "(2) The department shall submit an investment grade traffic study to the legislature by May 1, 2010 from a reputable traffic company with appropriate experience intended to provide a detailed traffic projection for the ensuing 10 years, taking into account projected infrastructure modifications, expansions and improvements announced."

MDOT complied according to a story in Crains Detroit:

  • "Traffic and toll study approved for proposed publicly owned Detroit bridge
    By Bill Shea

    The Michigan Department of Transportation has received approval to sign a $257,000 contract with the Lansing office of South Carolina-based transportation planners Wilbur Smith Associates Inc. to conduct a traffic and toll study for a proposed Detroit River crossing in Detroit.

    The study, whose contract was approved today by the State Administrative Board, will provide MDOT with traffic and toll-based revenue projections for the Detroit River International Crossing project, which would build a publicly owned span between Detroit’s Delray neighborhood and Windsor’s Brighton Beach area in the next few years."
I just could not believe it.....a quarter of a million dollars for this! Why is Michigan paying a cent? Why didn't Canada just give them their reports?


If you think the name WILBUR SMITH sounds familiar, go back to my BLOG, October 20, 2009 "Reasonable Apprenhension Of Bias"

Who was one of the signatories to the DRIC Advocacy Ad. Yup, that WILBUR SMITH!

Look for yourself:

Reasonable apprehension of bias! I wonder what the Report that will be prepared by a Canadian Govenment consultant who also is strongly in favour of building DRIC will say about traffic volumes! That is also the consultant writing the environmental impact statements for both the Blue Water Bridge and Peace Bridge plazas, sites that compete with the Bridge Company. DUHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Honestly, I can no longer believe anything about this project. It is so mind-blowing how it is being played by Governments to justify what they want to do. How can the Governments be taken seriously any more.

I will be sending a summary of some of the stupidity of this file to Professor Professor Bent Flyvbjerg who wrote the book "Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition"

The Amazon Review for the book states:

  • "Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition provides a fascinating look at the pervasiveness of misinformation in the planning of major construction projects and the systematic bias of such misinformation towards justifying project implementation."

The DRIC fiasco deserves a separate chapter in any revised Edition of his work. I promise you, even he will not believe what I shall bring to his attention!

I truly wonder if any politician will ever listen! Or will it take the courts to stop this insanity. The DRIC exercise in my opinion is completely.............. [You fill in your choice of the right word. I know what mine is.]