Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How To Cook The DRIC Traffic And Revenue Books

We are starting to see more details coming out from MDOT re revenues. I'll do more about what has been released soon.

Watch for the headlines though with the big income from tolls numbers. Unfortunately, from what I have seen so far, no costs numbers are given.

The inference has to be drawn therefore that taxpayers are on the hook for any deficiency through availability payments! That is why they were not disclosed.

After all, that is what the vast majority of P3 proponents told MDOT. They were NOT going to face traffic uncertainties and Ambassador Bridge competition at their risk with only toll revenues!

Another inference that can be drawn as well is that no one would ever invest in this DRIC project now because the costs far outweigh the revenues considering the risks.

What I wanted to do today is cast doubt on the entire WSA study. The revenue numbers are only as good as the traffic numbers and I don't know if they are any good. After all, the Canadian WSA report is still hidden.

I think the numbers may have been so determined so that only good results would come out. After all, the Auditor-General in Ontario showed us how that could be accomplished in his review of a hospital P3 deal.

That can be done depending on how the criteria for a study are determined. What are the rules under which the consultant is to operate?. Depending on the criteria almost any result can be achieved.

As an example, if one wanted to eliminate the DRTP truck proposal, merely say as the DRIC engineers did that you absolutely need 4 lanes of traffic along the corridor not 2 lanes. Bye-bye DRTP.

If you want to eliminate the Ambassador Bridge, claim that Sandwich will be wiped out by a huge plaza that your consultants chose to deal with not the Bridge Company's real plan. Bye-bye Matty.

Here is how it could have been set up for the WSA traffic numbers. You decide if I am right or not. Clearly, the revenue numbers must follow along with them and are pre-determined as well.

There are some interesting revelations as well as you shall see that really make one wonder what the game is and what is not being told to us and why. There is still much that is being buried and hidden from Legislators.

The Request for Proposal is fundamental. It sets out what exactly must be done and how. Those are the rules of the engagement for the consultant. Naturally, it can pre-determine the outcome:

This is the RFP back in 2007 which Wilbur Smith won to do a Traffic and Revenue Forecaster.

Without seeing the whole document, what did WSA provide for MDOT: a forecaster or an ad hoc report. Does it meet the investment grade traffic survey requirement of section 384?

Clearly what was handed in did not since we now have revenue numbers that were deleted before. MDOT made the decision to separate the report into 2 documents artificially, not WSA, one of which, the revenues, the MDOT Director said he did not have to provide.

Here is what WSA was asked to provide under the RFP:

Here is a problem though. WSA did a Refresher of the 2008 report only and that was the report handed in by MDOT.:

Why didn't they do a Refresher of the Refresher in 2009 of the original 2008 report when traffic was crashing but only a Refresher of the 2008 report? Their US Report to MDOT was not submitted until February of this year.

Presumably then the WSA report presented by MDOT to the Michigan Legislature did NOT meet the section 384 requirement right off the bat since it was not current but based on old out-of-date data.

Has the Legislature been misled and if so why? What are the consequences if they were?

This section tells you that Governments had already made up their minds in 2001 that capacity was needed based on old data and old reports that I have shown in other BLOGs bore no relationship to reality. In 2001, we had 9/11 but before that traffic had already reached its peak. The Governments wanted a NEW crossing supposedly. The Ambassador Bridge had been eliminated in 2001!

The RFP proponent is already being told what the answer is to be and what numbers are to be used to achieve it. They are being given the criteria upon which their Report is to be based in order to give the desired results.

There is a disconnect with actual numbers but who cares.

Presumably the 2014 date was picked since the DRIC bridge was to be completed by 2013. We know that is not going to happen. The start date could extend until the 2030's as I have shown before. So how reliable are the numbers if the start date has changed? Again, a disconnect with reality.

But it is more than that. The intention of the traffic projection is to base it on never never land mathematics. They deliberately want the forecaster NOT to look at traffic volumes from 1999 to the present date because it would show that the traffic projections are incorrect and are crashing. By forcing the forecaster to start in 2014, it means it must start using the incorrect assumptions.

In other words, you have to take a chunk of traffic from the Blue Water Bridge or this won't work.

I find it interesting that the main emphasis in the section “the Selected Proponent may need to an undertake some or all of the following tasks” is on REVIEWING. In other words, take the numbers as given, no original work is needed (remember an investment grade traffic survey can take a year WSA told the Senators and the first report was to be done in a much shorter time, about 5 months) and do nothing more.

Why haven't we seen the Refresher of the Refresher of the original report? Isn't this the more significant report since it updated everything?

As you can see, more questions, more doubts. more suspicions, no answers.

Are the numbers real? Can they be relied upon? Are full page disclaimers the norm for WSA now or is it just for the DRIC project?

Too many people are involved in this. No wonder the broth may have been spoiled.