Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Granholm Legacy: Slip Sliding Away

The lyrics of the song seem so appropriate:

  • "Believe we're gliding down the highway, when in fact we're slip sliding away...

    Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
    You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away."

Wrapping the DRIC in as part of the P3 Bill, making one of the biggest construction projects in Michigan's history the test case for a very complex contractual relationship for 50 or more years. What was she thinking! Was DRIC the camel that broke the straw's back? Is this one of the reasons that Legislators are nervous about signing a blank P3 check to MDOT?

That Australian trip that the MDOT people took to be educated on P3s must have been very enlightening. I guess that they did not understand that Commonwealth countries including Canada do not have the same separation of powers doctrine that the US has. Trying to usurp the Legislature's powers was something that allowed everyone to oppose the P3 Bill, regardless of their feelings re DRIC.

What a huge tactic error by MDOT. What over-reaching. Now the Governor has to pay the price. What can she do now to salvage her reputation?

I still cannot believe it. Who dreamed up the idea of trying to get the P3 Bill passed with UP TO $550M of supposedly riskless money. What an insult to the integrity of House members to have a breathless Governor put this down in front of them at the last second when obviously it was around for some time. Heck, it seems that L. Brooks knew about it since he said he had a letter that he was going to shop around to members of his Party.

During her phone call with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I bet that Governor Granholm could just taste victory for her new crossing, her legacy, the one big act that would make everyone forget her failures.. Hmmmm, the "Jennifer Mulhern Granholm Crossing" perhaps.

After all, it was Michigan's idea to work so closely with Canada on the big push so she would get the credit errr "Transport Canada did a heck of a job in figuring out how to craft this. They really threaded a needle" so now she might get the blame.

She must be desperate now. Her dream of the DRIC bridge and her legacy perhaps going up in smoke unless she can charm her supporters to stay firm or twist their arms to get onside. Can you imagine the political pressure being applied to Legislators.


  • $550M for the DRIC project....errrr UP TO $550M actually and perhaps only $1-200M in the end IF the Feds come onside.
  • Canada's participation in financing DRIC was merely going to increase errrr Minister Baird called it a loan.
  • Toll revenues would pay for it errrr except P3 partners wanted availability payments because tolls would not cut it.
  • It was a riskless deal errrr for Canada and P3 partners but not for Michigan.
  • It was merely reciprocating what happened with the Blue Water Bridge errrrr Canada's version of history was different.
  • A good grab in the P3 Bill to give the Executive absolute authority over P3s without legislative oversight errrr That might be unconstitutional
  • Making a nice pitch to the House and Senate errrr Presenting a "refresher" as an investment grade traffic survey and refusing to produce the WSA financial report.

Do P3s have a place? I would be surprised if they did but let us assume that in some case it might be the way to go. Who though would ever support one now when everything bad about P3s has been identified as a result of trying to wrap a P3 Bill and DRIC together. The concept has been thoroughly discredited, something that I am thrilled about as a taxpayer.

Canada was driving the bus. Canada's DRIC time-table caused the P3 Bill to be questioned. Canada had to have the P3 legislation passed for whatever their scheme was and they had to have the P3 bill passed NOW. Whatever is going on has been planned for "a generation or two" with the last decade being the time when the hardest work was being done by Transport Canada.

Seriously, if you are a Michigan Legislator, are you going to ride on the coat-tails of a lame-duck Governor who promised thousands and thousands of jobs (but not until 2021, according MDOT/Semcog or perhaps even later) in a pep-rally but now cannot deliver because of the errors made.

I can just hear a Legislator being called into the Governor's office to be charmed. After listening to the Governor, I would expect that person , as he/she heads for the door, to shout back.

"It did not have to be this way Governor. You said it yourself:

  • "Granholm said this morning she would be happy to support the second Ambassador span, but pointed out the Canadian government is opposed to Moroun's plan, which critics say would be too disruptive for the City of Windsor.

    "I've long said that if he could get the permits, we'd be all in."

You could have helped him Governor get those permits and we'd be laughing now and enjoying our summer. You know how to talk "Canadian" since for 8 or 9 months your staff were working with Canada. How much did ex-Governor Jim cost us? For what?

Just think, all of those toll credits from the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project we could be using, all those postponed 243 bridge and road projects started with 10,000 people working again along with the thousands of bridge building jobs because of Moroun's bridge. We had it all and you blew it.

We had no risk if Moroun picked up the tab.

You had an agreement you could have relied on but you did not use it. You could have taken on a leadership role with Canada, been the peace-maker but instead you chose a side, the wrong one as it may turn out. How many lawsuits so far and how many more to come?

MDOT....I am furious at them for their botched strategy. As for the new crossing, please, I do not want to hear MDOT saying they want both of them again.

I have had enough of double-crossings!"