Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Release The Wilbur Smith Financial Numbers

No matter how the DRIC project is to be financed, I would assume that there should be some assurance that the traffic is sufficient to pay the over $5B cost of the project. Especially as a number of the P3 companies pointed out, there is Ambassador Bridge competition and their tolls may be as much as 75% lower.

Would it not be nice therefore to see the revenue numbers from the experts hired and paid for by the State (and they worked for Canada too).

To my amazement, I am told that MDOT Director Steudle refused to release the information to the Senators at the hearings the other day.

Can you believe it? I will tell you that if I was a member of the Legislature, I would have thrown him out of the Hearing room and told him never to return unless he had a copy of that report in his hand and apologized for his disgraceful and insulting conduct.

His excuse---he did not want to give out competitive information. DUH, like P3 operators are going to accept what a Government expert says at face value.

Not a bad excuse though except that you are asking Legislators to accept on blind faith the word of a man whose Experts cannot predict traffic numbers even a year or so apart, the basis on which the DRIC bridge is to be built.

No Legislator in my opinion should vote on the P3 Bill until the information is provided, unless it is to kill the Bill. There are ways of releasing information so that it can be kept in confidence.

Of course it is obvious that the numbers do not work or they would be trumpeted on the front page of every newspaper around just like the so-called WSA traffic projections. We know that, because of what I Blogged about, the P3 operators who responded almost demand an "availability payment" scheme to pay for the DRIC crossing ie taxpayers pay. They obviously think that toll revenues alone are too risky.

Think about it:

  • The DRIC investment grade traffic survey is not one but a refresher of a Canadian report that I do not believe has been released.

  • The DRIC traffic numbers keep changing, going lower.

  • I am told that redundancy is now back as the reason for DRIC. I guess Jobs, Jobs, Jobs was a dud.

  • Lies about Sandwich and downtown Windsor traffic have been exposed.

  • The suggestion about the Canada loan not being a loan is a gross distortion of reality.

  • The Blue Water Bridge...find a section in the Statute that set it up that Michigan was loaning money to Canada. I could not find it. It's not in MDOT's history of the Bridge on their website either.

  • Questionable payments to get laws passed, endrunning the Legislature perhaps unconstitutionally, vilification of's all in the game I guess.

  • And now no revenue numbers on a $5B project.

What a joke!

Remember that Canada has wanted to take over the Ambassador Bridge for a generation or two, even before Matty Moroun was the owner, as Minister Baird has said. Transport Canada has been especially working hard in the last decade to accomplish Canada's objective.

Frankly, I would like to know, if I was a Michigan Legislator, why MDOT is being so helpful to Canada at the possible expense of Michigan taxpayers.