Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, May 24, 2010

Michigan P3 Bill Draft #142

Honestly, the Americans have no clue what Canada's plans are for the border. After all, we have been working on them for 50 years or a "generation or two" in Transport Canada Minister Baird's terms.

142---I think that is the number of redrafts we have had so far of the P3/pro DRIC Bill in Michigan so far. Just kidding but it seems that many with I suspect another redraft on the way for this week

Why should we Canadians care--simple, it could cost us $550M, and much more down the road if DRIC is built, of our taxpayer dollars so that Transport Minister Baird can be a hero with his boss, Prime Minister Harper, after 16 months of failure to "make it happen."

Don't you know, it is part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. I wonder what chapter of the Plan helping out American states falls under since I did not see a budget for it in what the Government published some months ago.

Doesn't it sound eerily similar to the deal our Mayor was proposing along with the help of Infrastructure Ontario, the P3 arm of the Ontario Government. In that case, we were going to provide US$75M to cash-strapped Detroit for their half of the Tunnel for a generation or two. Our tax money would be used to bail out an American City.

Wow, we have money to burn in this country.

Fortunately, I am not a conspiracy theorist or I could argue that Canada, Ontario and Windsor are all working together to take away control of the border crossings from the Americans. We know that Canada wants to do something with the Blue Water Bridge too as well as control the Niagara region crossings with shared border management one day.

Do the the Tunnel and DRIC/P3 loan deals look as if they were co-ordinated? Do they both stink?

I did not know that we had annexed Michigan and made it part of Canada. For me, if I had my druthers, I would rather take over Florida.

Baird at least admits that it is part of a generation or two of effort by Canada, with the last decade being the really hard work, to try and crush the owner of the Ambassador Bridge.

To be upfront about it, I hope some Legislators in Michigan read my BLOG. If I will help contribute to the death of this Michigan P3 Bill I will be a happy camper.

It has nothing to do with the DRIC file. Rather, it has to do with ripping off taxpayers to pay for Wall Street bankers' fees and obscene P3 profits that would run on a toll-road at about 13-20% rate of return. Just do the math and figure out the excess profit that would be made compared with say a Government bond at around 5%, one of the traditional ways to finance a road.

I believe that the Governor, MDOT and Canada made a huge blunder tying the 2 concepts, P3s and DRIC, together. But then again, Canada required it so as to get around the Michigan Senate objections to the DRIC boondoggle.

I have to congratulate a number of Democrat House Reps in Michigan for obviously saying that they cannot support the P3 Bill. Why else has there been no vote and so many redrafts. Obviously those members and the Republican members of the House can see the major flaw in the bill---NO LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT.

The Michigan legislative system would be bastardized by the passage of this Bill which would have allowed the Administration to enter into any P3 it wanted on any terms it wanted, a process that could tie up future Governments for the next 50 years or more without recourse. Imagine being a taxpayer in Michigan when P3 payments had to be made especially if they were "availability payments."

It is clear that Governor Granholm freaked when she knew she did not have the votes to get her P3 Bill passed even in the Democrat-controlled House. Why else Canada's offer of $550M?

Here is how it was really supposed to play out as far as I am concerned but for the Republicans and the thoughtful Democrats:
  • House Committee passes P3 Bill several weeks ago

  • House passes P3 Bill

  • Bill sent to Senate whose members have difficulty with it

  • Baird offers $550M only at that time not before so that Senators now have a "riskless" P3 Bill and a "no-brainer" project to support

  • Amendment introduced in the Senate to make Canada an "Instrumentiality of the Michigan Government" with the right to be part of any P3 agreement and to oversee concessionaires since after all, they contributed some money [believe it or not that was introduced already into a draft of the House P3 Bill prematurely so it gave Canada's plan all away]

  • Senate approves P3 Bill

  • House approves amended P3 Bill

  • Senators reject DRIC on their June 1 vote since it is a huge $5.3B boondoggle

  • Who cares what the Senate thinks. MDOT has the power with the P3 Bill passed. DRIC now approved since the legislators have no say in P3s

  • Ultimately, Canada gets control of the US side of the border and then goes after Moroun on the Canadian side even harder to get him out.

Simple isn't it. That was the Plan.

But do not worry, dear reader. There is another Plan; there always is. After all, when you have 50 years to think through every possible contingency, this is just a mere bump in the road.

Keep your seatbelts fastened though. I fear we may be in for a very rough ride in the next few weeks.