Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Riskless, No-brainer Ambassador Bridge Border Proposal

Read the Covering letter and Resolution for yourself

Keep on coming back here. As I get more info, I will keep on updating. It seems that each media report has a different aspect of what happened today.



Oh, oh...Minister Baird is a spoiled brat. No more sugary niceness. He may take his $550M and go home if he does not get his way. Do what he tells you Michigan or else:

  • "DRIC advocates have warned that failure to build the bridge could result in trade being lost to crossings elsewhere.

    While not entirely closing the door on Canada moving the project to the Niagara-Buffalo region, where there are a number of bridges, Baird today said Detroit-Windsor is the first and only option right now.

    “This is our first choice,” he said."

Didn't MDOT Director Steudle show him the slides where that myth was destroyed by MDOT or doesn't the truth count any more?

And how can he go elsewhere when he just told everyone how our crossing is the #1 project between Canada and the US. He would not be telling us stories just so that he can beat Moroun would he?



What a way to run a border crossing. At least the Bridge Company people who admitted that they had done poorly before in PR activities have learned how to play the game upstaging Baird with their own news.

Stories from reporters covering the Baird speech also covered the Bridge Company press conference.


    "Bridge company, backers of new river crossing stage dueling events

    The battle for public and legislative hearts and minds over a proposed publicly owned Detroit River crossing ratcheted up today with a pair of dueling events."

  • Windsor Star

    "Just days away from a decision by Michigan lawmakers on whether they will help fund construction of a new Windsor-Detroit bridge, Canada's federal Transport Minister John Baird appeared in Detroit in a last-minute appeal to secure a political commitment...

    But minutes after Baird's appearance in Detroit, officials from the privately-owned Ambassador Bridge -- including owner Matty Moroun's son Matthew -- staged their own media event in Detroit where they accused the Canadian government of attempting to buy votes which threaten to steal their annual $60-million in border traffic revenues.

  • Detroit Free Press

    "Baird’s visit came just weeks after Canada offered to front Michigan’s $550 million share of the DRIC, to be paid back through tolls.

    His visit inflamed the war of words between the U.S., Michigan and Canadian governments and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun’s organization. Members of his family and staff had a table at the luncheon today and held a news conference after Baird’s speech to refute his claims."



How much trouble are Baird and Granholm in respecting this vote:

  • "Baird also was meeting today with members of the Legislature, which gave itself a June 1 deadline to authorize the DRIC."

Do you thnk he met any Republicans...naw just Democrats probably who are having second-thoughts of the wisdom of rallying and lining up behind a term-limited Governor whose P3 Bill could turn around and bite those supporting it.

She won't care either...IBG..YBG.



Make it up as you go along. Who cares any more.

Minister Baird in his statment said.

  • "Building the crossing could amount to about 30,000 jobs in the Windsor and Detroit communities alone."

I guess no one asked him about what he said in his press conference about Windsor-Essex jobs.,

Heck he should have said a gazillion jobs will be created. Look at this answer from DRIC back in February...they are almost there. What an opportunity he missed

  • Q. "You estimate a large number of jobs will be created by this project. How did you arrive at that number?

    A. As noted in the DRIC FEIS, data from FHWA indicates that seven full-time equivalent jobs are created for every million dollars of construction spending per year on transportation infrastructure projects. In addition, FHWA analysis also shows that eighteen indirect jobs are supported by every million dollars of transportation infrastructure related construction spending per year. Based on the estimated cost for the U.S. portion of the project, the FEIS estimated that approximately 10,000 direct jobs, and as many as 30,000 indirect jobs, would be created over the life of this project.

    The recently published Request for Proposal of Interest (RFPOI) described a project that included both U.S. and Canadian elements. The DRIC Project as outlined in the RFPOI is estimated to cost $2.26 billion. Based on this number, and using the same formula from the DRIC FEIS described above, it is estimated that the DIRC project will generate approximately 15,800 jobs in the Detroit-Windsor area over the life of the construction project, and that same spending will lead to as many as 40,680 indirect jobs in the Detroit-Windsor area.

    This estimate does not include jobs that would also be created by the construction of The Windsor-Essex Parkway."

The DRIC road project is another almost $2B one.

See what I mean, no one checks anything any more in this file. None of what DRIC says is believable any more.



Oh, it's ok, it won't be Michigan taxpayers who have to pay the ongoing operating costs of both an Ambassador Bridge and a DRIC Bridge. It will just be people who pay US federal income taxes in Michigan. Completely different people right!

Think about it, the cost of keeping a lane of traffic open for Customs is about a million dollars when you factor in salaries, benefits, and back-office people and support for 24/7/356.

If you have 20-30 or so lanes each at both bridges, you double your costs but for a reduced flow of traffic. As Matthew Moroun said:

  • "The U.S. company has said a new span would siphon off traffic from the Ambassador Bridge...

    "The traffic would be split in half, the expenses of the Ambassador Bridge and the expenses of the new bridge would probably be very redundant and taxpayers would have to come in and subsidize (the new) bridge and we would do our best not to go bust."



Oh lord, not again:

  • "Baird said besides better movement of commercial traffic “I probably don’t need to mention that building a new bridge is vital for national security reasons.”

    “The attempted (Christmas) terrorist attack on the flight headed to Detroit – and the recent Times Square incident – were a stark reminder that we must remain vigilant against terrorist attacks,” he said."

Why didn't Canada moved forward with shared border management to solve this problem? What happened to Minister Van loan's idea of a pilot project at the Ambassador Bridge:

  • "He also got a commitment from Napolitano that Washington will look again at the idea of what is called land pre-clearance, he said.

    Under a proposal favoured by Ottawa, American officials would check U.S.-bound trucks on the Canadian side of the border and vice versa, easing trade bottlenecks."

As Matthew Moroun said, there are no Canadian security forces at the Bridge if security is so important. Dan Stamper said that they have their own security force to protect the bridge 24 hours a day so the situation is looked after no thanks to the Governments.



When one becomes a Cabinet Minister in Canada's Conservative Party Government, your past is thrown away. You are sent through a mind-bending process that causes your memory to be wiped out. Like reformatting a defective computer hard-drive and having a new operating system installed.

How else to explain what Minisiter Van Loan said as revealed in the Detroit News and what was said about him today by Minister Baird since their points of view over the Ambassador Bridge are completely opposite:

  • "At an early afternoon press conference held immediately after the luncheon Baird reiterated that at the time Van Loan wrote the letter he was working as an attorney in private practice.

    "He was speaking on behalf of his client," Baird said.

    "He was not speaking on public policy as a member of the Canadian government. Prime Minister Harper has made it very clear that the DRIC is a priority with the government."

    Ambassador Bridge spokesman Phil Frame acknowledged that Van Loan had been hired on behalf of the bridge company at the time he wrote the letter.

    "We hired his law firm," Frame said. "He was speaking on our behalf, but he was obviously speaking from his convictions. He was not lying on our behalf."

I'll be commenting on Van Loan in a separate BLOG



Clearly, someone with a Wndsor connection has been preparing Minister Baird for his speech in Detroit. that could be the kiss of death though for Canada's plans.

"Transport Minister John Baird appealed to Michigan to think big and ignore the naysayers who say a second international bridge at Windsor-Detroit is not needed."

Think Big--that is what Windsor's traffic guru, Gridlock Sam Schwartz proposed. All of his plans were dismissed by the Senior Levels of Goverenment!

As far as naysayers are concerned, that primarily refers to the Obliging Blogosphere. Even Minister Baird now understands the power of the Windsor BLOGs that are continually setting out the facts that the Governments would prefer to bury!

Here is an example of a mis-statement

No one that I can recall has said a second bridge is not needed. I support building the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project bridge and to let its owner bear the financial risk, not taxpayers. What is NOT needed today is a DRIC bridge as even MDOT has stated until they were caught and had to change what they said!



No wonder the analysis of the competing bridge proposals are so bad. Here is what was said by one of the guests on the Power & Politics show on CBC-TV

  • "Baird is right. You don't hear me say that every day but he's absolutely right. This isn't a bribe, this is co-financing $2 billion worth of trade a day. That's where our self-interest lies. We need a second Bridge and I like to be able to get over to those Bills games and I spend sometimes $2-300.
  • It's the Detroit Lions. You are in NFL teams right. That's a different place."

The analyst is thinking about the Peace Bridge! Sheeeeeeeeeeesh!