Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Own The Podium----DRIC Style

Did a senior Executive in the Michigan Government really say this? It is unreal to me, a shock. Lame-duck Governor, lame-duck Director.

Want to see to whom Michigan Legislators would be ceding power under the P3 legislation, and an example of what could happen when losing checks and balances to unelected bureaucrats who are accountable to no voter. Careful, you might lose your breakfast on reading this!

"Own The Podium" that was Canada's theme during the last Olympics. That attitude has apparently carried over to the border file as we are successfully beating up on Michigan on the Windsor/Detroit crossing. Whatever we want, even if it means wiping out part of Detroit and not touching Windsor, we get!

Own the Podium cost Canada a lot of money--not $550M mind you-- but it was designed to change things around this country dramatically, to give us some back-bone and spunk. To make us winners.
  • For Canada to be a world leader in high-performance sport."

  • an innovative and collaborative initiative without precedent in Canadian sport. It was created to bring together the key parties involved in leading and funding excellence in Canadian sport, with specific emphasis on achieving excellence at Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Never mind the sociological BS, it was designed to make us #1 in sports and to allow us to kick butt. Sure we did not accomplish everything we wanted but we did achieve some good results:

  • "Olympic officials had boldly predicted Team Canada would win these Games – hence the name, “Own the Podium.”
  • "The program has been criticized as being impolite and un-Canadian."
  • "Canadian athletes came to the Games not with a “swagger” but with confidence, and as a result they inspired a nation."

Well that un-Canadian attitude has spread over to the DRIC file and we have intimidated the hell out of Michigan MDOT and in particular its Director. Canada must now "own the border"

  • "Steudle: DRIC 'Going To Happen At Some Point'

    The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) is officialssuch a high priority to Canadian officials that Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Kirk STEUDLE told MIRS this week that the project "is going to happen at some point," regardless of any current opposition in the Michigan Legislature.

    The Canadian government is willing to invest a half billion dollars to connect its Highway 401 with I-75 to help move materials across the international border, Steudle said. It's clear that the handful of lanes on the Ambassador Bridge is far from sufficient for the "nation's biggest border crossing" and the Canadian government will not stop pushing for more.

    "I don't think they're going to stop if we say we don't want it," Steudle said. "In my view, this is going to happen at some point."

Wow, Gold Medal for Canada. Who gives a damn what Americans say! They have no voice. Michigan legislators are irrelevant. Even MDOT's P3 legislation is proof of that. No one cares what they want.

What a bunch of wimps Americans have become! Throw a few bucks at them and they grovel. That's what Granholm has done for her State and now she wants Legislators to follow along.

Here is the short-sighted part that would bother me if I was a Michigan Legislator.
  • "Q: Are you guys operating under the assumption that if the Legislature doesn't act by June 1, is the project dead?

    A: We're pushing right now to have the Legislature act and June 1 is the date that we have in there. It's their date. We're pushing saying, "this is the best thing." And frankly, with the announcement from the Canadians, there is zero cost for Michigan. This should be a no-brainer. It's a significant infrastructure improvement with no cost to Michigan. I don't even understand why there's a second question, there's no Michigan money...

    What you've seen with the advancement with the Canadians' offer is that this is a huge priority in Canada, when you have the Premier weighing in saying, "We're going to invest half a billion dollars because we can see the economic benefits in it," I don't think they're going to stop if we say we don't want it.

    Q: So this is going to happen one way or another?

    A: In my view, this is going to happen at some point."
I did not know it was that easy to take over a US State! And that cheap. Fantastic! Canada owns Michigan now if one listens to the Director. Whatever we say goes! Nothing can stop us now!

Of course, no one knows Canada's Terms and Conditions yet. Who cares!

Moreover, there are still $4.8B worth of costs unaccounted for. Who cares!

It appears that Government guarantees or subsidies by way of "availability payments" will be needed or no one will put up the money with the traffic and Ambassador Bridge competition risks! But why mention that and confuse people. I have not yet heard Minister Baird agree to pay for that. Who cares!

And as for MDOT's former "partner" whom they encouraged to spend his own private dollars to build a second bridge, take that Matty:
  • "We have had numerous meetings with the Ambassador Bridge folks, with the president and owner. I have discussed several times how to advance the border crossing initiative with the Ambassador Bridge and the DRIC Bridge.

    I have said several times that they operate the nation's biggest border crossing. They clearly know how to operate an international crossing. They'd certainly be welcome as a bidder. But at the end of the day, as public agency, we need to open up that opportunity to everybody.

    They would be more than welcome to submit a proposal and be part of it. They might not be the only one. They might join with a finance company, I don't know. There's that proposal we put out there and they didn't send us a letter back.

    When we go forward with a full request for proposals it would be open for them to say, "Here's my proposal, here's my team" and we'll evaluate it with the rest of the proposals to determine what's best for the state of Michigan."
Did you see a word there for him to build his second bridge? Who cares!

Sure you built up our border to be #1, sure we are taking your traffic so we can compete with you, sure we are doing everything we can to put roadblocks in your way but go on, Matty, bid to get your business back! And who knows if you are going to win. Who cares!

Now here is a thought. What if this DRIC deal really sucks? What if it is a huge disaster for Michigan? What if it costs billions? Will Director Steudle be fired?
  • "Q: Would you serve under the next governor, if asked?

    A: That's a tough question.

    Q: You're well respected on both sides. Is it possible?

    A: We'd have to have a conversation with the new governor. I'm an appointee with Granholm and understood that when I took the job. I wouldn't close anything out, but at the same time, I understand the seat that I sit in... I know it's not a straight-up answer, but I don't want to get into speculation."

In other words.....IBG...YBG! To bigger and better employment possibly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the winner of the gold medal for bullying Michigan on the border battle: Prime Minister Harper of Canada