Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, May 13, 2010

DRIC: Jobs, Jobs

I am sure that you thought my subject line was in error.

I am sure that you thought it should say Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

In fact, if this story is true, it probably should only say "Jobs."
  • Windsor-Detroit bridge job estimates viewed with caution

    Government officials on both sides of the border have repeatedly stated that thousands of direct construction jobs would be created during construction of the new Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project.

    But officials in the construction industry in Ontario and Michigan are cautious about those estimates, saying the actual number could be much lower.

    At an April 19 news conference in Detroit featuring high profile Canadian and U.S. political, business and labour officials, the number 10,000 was mentioned for direct construction jobs in Michigan alone…

    But industry officials are seeing through the rosy job predictions.

    “The big numbers are out there,” agreed Jim Lyons, executive director of the Heavy Construction Association of Windsor. But companies vying for the DRIC work have mentioned figures that “are not even close to (those) estimates.” He said people using the bigger numbers are “really throwing some major multipliers on top of all of the components.”

    Lyons suggested a more realistic number would be 500 or 600 jobs per year, at least on the Canadian side, “as a max,” leading to a total job number of about 3,000 over the five to six-year duration of the project.

    He said the type of employees would change from year to year. “And you won’t be seeing any major infrastructure in terms of the new roadways and bridges constructed until we get a lot of the dirt out of the way and that’s likely going to be in 2012-2013.”

    Each phase of the project would employ different types of workers.

    Lyons said that since the industry uses a two-for-one multiplier, “there’s potentially another 6,000 jobs out there” beyond construction over the project’s lifespan beginning, say, with firms supplying materials like concrete and iron.

    Most workers would be recruited from the Windsor area, though some major components, such as for bridge work, would likely require workers from outside. “There will be some transients in the actual bridge construction,” he said...

    For their part, Michigan construction officials say they would be happy to take any jobs, though Mark Sawyer, executive director of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeastern Michigan, said there is concern that if the project is publicly financed contractors may be mandated to use union labour...

    Last year President Barack Obama signed executive order 13502 which encourages Project Labor Agreements for federally-funded construction of more than $25 million.

    “The choice of using forced union on construction projects is a political football,” Sawyer said.

    Baird said the money offered to Michigan would “allow the state of Michigan to leverage the federal dollars which will be far greater” than what the state would pay.

    Kevin Koehler, president of the Construction Association of Michigan, said the reason for the absence of major highway projects in Michigan in recent years has been the state’s inability to leverage federal funds.

    “We’re afraid we’re going to lose future road project funding because of the (lack of) matching dollars,” he said."

Psssst. Do not forget that the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project can start very quickly if the Governments stop playing games and putting up roadblocks. The Bridge Company can offer up toll credits too for Federal matching grants.