Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dingell MUST Support Ambassador Bridge Project

Darn, darn, darn!

Matty Moroun did not lie after all. He does not need to when the facts are all on his side.

No big story here? Au contraire mes amis. There is a huge one that the media has not yet recognized or has chosen NOT to publicize!

Now it is U.S. Rep. John Dingell, born in 1926 before the Ambassador Bridge was completed in 1929, who is placed personally at risk as well as the Governments of Canada, the US, Ontario, Michigan and Windsor thanks to the release of the Bridge condition report.

It was a huge non-story blown up by certain people for reasons that we can guess. The Bridge Company people had already told Canada during the Bill C-3 hearings that they had no concerns with the safety and security provisions of that statute and told the Cropsey hearings that they provided Bridge information already as part of the Gateway project.

So what was the big deal other than another attempt to smear and gain traction with the Michigan Legislators?

I do not believe that the Bridge Company suckered the Representative into acting as some might think. He did everything on his own to make himself look like the complete fool! I wonder which bureaucrat, State or Federal, helped make a joke out of him by convincing him that he would be a hero for releasing the report. Of course, only a cynic would think it had something to do with promoting the DRIC Bridge and I am no cynic am I.

The Congressman made the statement
  • "He said he wanted the report released -- despite an unsuccessful court challenge by the bridge's owners -- "so that smarter people than John Dingell can look at it and arrive at an informed judgment."
Shhhh, do not tell him that State and US Federal agencies experts have seen the Bridge Reports for years already and did not voice a complaint. Morever, their biggest foe according to the Michigan Governor had this to say:
  • "Mark Butler, a spokesman for Transport Canada in Windsor, said Canadian authorities received an executive summary of the 2007 report under a recently passed federal law in Canada. Transport Canada did not see anything in the executive summary that authorities felt warranted immediate action, Butler said."

The Bridge Company was obliged to start the lawsuit to prevent distribution of the Report first because as their spokesman said:

  • "Company spokesman Phil Frame said the company opposed the release of the report because its findings are out of date, it contains proprietary information, and it poses a security risk if it falls into the hands of terrorists."

I liked this line of his too:

  • "Phil Frame, a spokesman for the bridge company, blasted Dingell for releasing a report that contained structural drawings of the bridge. He said that posed a danger to national security and that the drawings have “no value to the general public, but have every single value to any member of Al Qaeda who has an engineering degree."

If you saw the part of the Report as posted on the Free Press website, they had to sue as well since it only says: I guess confidentiality agreements mean nothing in the US and one can get around language such as this easily:

  • "A copy of the report, stamped confidential, was provided to the Michigan Department of Transportation after the state agency agreed it would not provide the report to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. But the agreement provided for the state agency to give a copy of the report to the Federal Highway Administration, which was not subject to the agreement and deemed the report subject to release under FOIA."

So release it to the Representative so that he can release it too to put pressure on to build the DRIC Bridge. Ooooops, did I say that? Too bad it was released AFTER the Michigan Budget was set.

Do you think the Governor was aware of the Report when she said that the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project was her #1 priority so as to put the blame on Canada if something went wrong! That is at least one explanation I can think of for her dramatic public statement.

Some may think that the Bridge Company people are smiling right now. They should be because what they have constantly and consistently said has been proven to be true, once again:

  1. They need their new bridge NOT for capacity reasons but for traffic flow purposes

  2. Their 80 year old bridge ought to come out of operation as soon as their new bridge is built so that it can be rehabilitiated. That work can be done more quickly, more inexpensively and with less disruption to traffic if they can close their old bridge down while that work is being done.

It is NOT that the Bridge Company people are that smart as I have said before but that their enemies are that dumb. The Bridge Company people do not have to prove their case. Their enemies do it for them all the time!

Why the Congressman decided to get involved is an interesting question. However, now that he has made himself the self-appointed border sheriff and protector of the masses, what can the Representative do other than to demand that the Enhancement Bridge be built immediately. He has no other choice now

  • "The report by consulting engineers Modjeski and Masters Inc. of Harrisburg, Penn., was made available to the news media today by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who obtained it under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

    "I'm not comfortable that fair condition, with 11 million people going across it and thousands of heavy-duty trucks going across it every day, is in the condition I would like it to be," Dingell said during a conference call from Washington, D.C. However, "I can't tell you that it is not."

If he is not comfortable and the DRIC Bridge will not be finished until 2015 at the earliest and will take 60 months after all of the permits are obtained (I wonder if DRIC can ever get a Presidential Permit after what the State Department said), he must insist now that the Enhancement Bridge be built.

Moreover, here is what the head House Democrat recently said in Michigan which, along with the Governor's remark supporting the Ambassador Bridge project as the #1 priority, ought to be the end of DRIC. The remark was buried at the end of a Detroit Free Press story:

  • "As for a new bridge, the battle continues between Moroun, who wants to build a span parallel to his Ambassador Bridge, and U.S. and Canadian authorities, who want to build a publicly owned bridge about 2 miles downstream.

    Michigan’s Speaker of the House, Andy Dillon, said the report shouldn’t put a stop to the preliminary work being done on a publicly owned second span, known as the Detroit River International Crossing, or DRIC.

    “But until the money is there for DRIC, I don’t see it happening,” the Redford Township Democrat said. “We certainly don’t have the money for it.”

Congressman Dingell opened his mouth and here is what came out. He absolutely must become the biggest booster of the Enhancement Project in Congress

After all, he is concerned about bridge users isn't he and the commerce of Canada and the US!

PS. I am really surprised that the 80+ year old US Congressman would throw stones at the 80 year old Bridge. He ought to know better from his own personal experience.

After all, he has a few aches and pains for which he has been able to compensate. He has had worn out parts replaced and he is as good as new now isn't he. Being older has not stopped him from being one of the key Legislators around. As his website states quoting a Detroit News article:

  • "The easy way out (after losing the chairmanship race) for somebody his age would be just to bag it, and say it's time to go," Cole said. "But he saw he had a role to play and he played it superbly..."

    "John Dingell is a masterful legislator," Pelosi said. "The Democratic Caucus, and indeed the entire Congress, continue to rely on his expertise..."

    Shortly after his setback, Dingell and Waxman agreed that in his new "chairman emeritus" role he would take the lead on health care, one of Obama's priorities...

    Following serious knee [replacement] surgery, crutches and a cranberry-colored electric scooter enabled him to keep up with the brisk back-and-forth between the office, hearings and House floor. Seldom missing votes also ensured that he could always be found in his favorite seat on the House floor."

Hmmmm. I trust that the Congressman will be giving out annual detailed medical advisories to his constituents publicly so they will not be concerned that he cannot represent them properly.