Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Waste Of 7 Years

Seven years. How prophetic:

"And there shall arise after them seven years of famine;
and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt;
and the famine shall consume the land"

It is a disaster of bibilical proportion in the Windsor-Detroit region. How else to describe the lack of action on the border file since December of 2002 when the Joint Management Committee's first report came out. Unfortunately, with Canada's opposition to the Bridge Company and its desire to prevent them moving forward--just get confirmation from Governor Granholm--we should not expect 7 years of abundance to come now with lawsuits flying between the parties.

Look at what we lost: the opportunity for thousands of jobs during the worst economic crisis in this area since the Depression to tide us over as politicians and bureaucrats played their asinine games:
  • "Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., reported the highest unemployment rate in October, 16.7 percent."

  • "Officially, Detroit's unemployment rate is just under 30 percent. But the city's mayor and local leaders are suggesting a far more disturbing figure -- the actual jobless rate, they say, is closer to 50 percent."

  • "Windsor's unemployment rate, still the highest in the country at 13.5 per cent, continued its downward trend in November, falling for the fourth consecutive month, according to figures released this morning by Statistics Canada.

    Since the rate hit a 25-year high of 15.2 per cent in July, it has fallen by 1.7 percentage points in the past four months.

    The drop, however, is largely attributable to a decrease in the labour force, or the number of people actively seeking work, which fell in November by 1,100 people compared to the previous month."

Here is the real tragedy. The border is so fundamental to this region and we are doing nothing to improve it. We are doing nothing to build on our huge advantage: location, location, location.

As reported in Todays Trucking:

  • "DOT report: Ontario trade gateways vital to NAFTA

    WASHINGTON -- Three busy Ontario-U.S. land border crossings rank in the top 10 leading international freight transportation gateways south of the border.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics released "America’s Freight Transportation Gateways 2009," a data profile of the nation’s leading international freight transportation gateways in 2008 and trends in movement of goods through these seaports, airports and land border crossings since 1990.

    U.S. freight gateways handled more than $3.4 trillion (in current dollars) of international merchandise trade in 2008, an increase of 9 percent from 2007. The highlights the top 25 freight gateways, which are led by the Los Angeles seaport.

    The Detroit-Windsor, Ont. border was the busiest land border gateway by value for imports and exports; and the fifth leading gateway when compared with all U.S. land, air, and sea freight gateways."

And all we have received are lies about the need for a DRIC crossing because of traffic doubling that have caused our economic famine. And stalling, inaction and the blocking of a private enterprise solution for political reasons.

Once again, the Star missed the point of the story "Windsor-Detroit border still busiest, most valuable" and failed to enlighten its readers. Oh it did report:

  • "The study found that 1,510,000 trucks entered the U.S. via the Detroit gateway in 2008 — which is actually a decline compared to 2007 figures

However, here are some startling figures and graphs from the US which it did NOT report. Try and justify the need for a DRIC bridge if you can now (Double-click the graph for a better image):



Here is the tragedy for Michigan as the US DOT wrote and for which the only person to be blamed is Governor Granholm for allowing Canada to help ruin her State as she fiddled:

  • "Detroit, Michigan—Land Gateway

    Detroit was the nation's busiest land border gateway by value for imports and exports transported across the border by highways, railroads, and pipelines in 2008. Its land ports were the fifth leading gateway when compared with all U.S. land, air, and sea freight gateways.

    In 2008, merchandise trade passing through Detroit ($120 billion) accounted for 15 percent of the value of U.S. total land trade. These freight shipments accounted for 18 percent of all U.S. land exports and 12 percent of land imports. Detroit was a major gateway for both exports and imports, with outbound shipments accounting for 55 percent of the value of freight handled by its land ports and inbound shipments accounting for 45 percent in 2008 (table 1).

    Trucking was by far the most heavily used mode of transportation for freight passing through Detroit, accounting for 84 percent of the value ($101 billion) of total land trade in 2008, down from 91 percent in 2000. Rail accounted for 15 percent in 2008, up from 9 percent in 2000 (table 2). By weight, trucking also accounted for the largest share of land imports tonnage (see insert table).

    Detroit is an international gateway that serves almost every state. In 2008, about 74 percent of the value of truck freight passing through Detroit originated or terminated outside Michigan. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of imports that passed through Detroit by truck, and 81 percent of truck exports, were to and from other states. The top three states served by Detroit's land transportation facilities were Michigan, Ohio, and California, accounting for 48 percent of the merchandise trade transported through Detroit.

    Thousands of commercial trucks cross daily into the United States from Canada via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge. The tunnel and bridge handled more than 1.5 million incoming truck crossings in 2008, down 15 percent from about 1.8 million crossings in 2007 (figure 1). These trucks carried about 1.5 million containers into the United States from Canada in 2008. By comparison, about 210,000 rail containers from Canada crossed into the United States at Detroit in 2008, continuing a decline that began in 2000.

    The recent national economic downturn, the decline in production by the Big Three automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), and the overall slowdown in heavy manufacturing activities are likely to continue to influence freight traffic at Detroit's land facilities and in the freight transportation corridors they serve.

Will 2010 finally bring a resolution and allow us to start on the road to recovery? Don't count on it!