Jul 10, 2008

Patterson endorses DRIC study bridge location

Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson joined Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis Wednesday to support the downriver Detroit-Windsor border crossing near Zug Island proposed by the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study.

The endorsement by the prominent Republican Patterson may put an end to the lobbying effort of Grosse Pointe transportation billionaire Matty Moroun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge, and GOP opposition to the DRIC study, as well as Moroun’s plan to build the exact same bridge next to the current one. The bridge will be a bridge to no where because Canadian law says an international border crossing may not be in private hands. The Ambassador is only one of two border crossings in the country owned by a private entity. Canada officials
announced last month
that the Canadian location will be directly across from the American crossing chosen by the DRIC study.

Moroun has and continues to conduct an intense lobbying effort on both sides of the river with his deep pockets, and his main ally on the American side in state Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, the Senate Majority Floor Leader. He has held up the state transportation budget because of it. It remains to be seen if he will now back down based on Patterson’s endorsement.

The private, for profit bridge company has fought hard in an effort to keep its monopoly, saying there is not enough traffic to justify a second crossing, and then contradicting that by going forward with building a second span right next to the current one, despite not having clearance from the Canadian government to connect it to Canadian soil. Additionally, traffic on the Canadian side of the Ambassador empties into a city street in downtown Windsor, and trucks must go through 17 stop lights to reach the freeway. Backups can be as long as 5 miles, and Canadian officials do not want to see more traffic dumped onto city streets.

"The DRIC Downriver Border Crossing is the absolutely best alternative because it will significantly ease traffic congestion between Detroit and Windsor thus enhancing the ability of companies on both sides of the river to get their products to market in a timely and efficient manner," Patterson said in a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) press release.

The DRIC study indicates that Canada-US trade supports 7.1 million U.S. jobs including 221,500 Michigan jobs and one in three Canadian jobs.

Last year, Canadians made more than 1.2 million visits to Michigan and spent $208 million. Michigan exports to Canada total $13 billion, representing 61percent of its foreign sales. In addition, the U.S. exports about $135 billion worth of goods every year to Ontario. To put this in perspective, the U.S. sells only $55 billion annually to all of China.

"The Windsor-Detroit Gateway is more than a river crossing. It is not only vitally important to the economies of Windsor and Southeast Michigan, it is a critical supply chain stretching from Montreal to the Port of Los Angeles. Windsor supports the preferred location announced recently by the bi-national study to locate the next crossing in the Brighton Beach industrial area of the city," Francis said.

Two bridge designs are currently under consideration for the downriver border crossing. One is a suspension bridge, similar to the Ambassador Bridge. The other is a cable stay bridge similar to the Denver Millennium Bridge. The cable stay bridge is less expensive and more in vogue today around the world.

Partners in the Detroit River International Crossing study are the U.S. Federal Highway Administration; MDOT; Transport Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The timeline for the project calls for property acquisition in 2009, construction starting in 2010 and the opening of the border crossing in 2014.

According to MDOT, the project will be government owned and maintained with the private sector playing a role in construction and operation of the facility. Details still need to be worked out. The cost of the project to the U.S. will be approximately $1.25 billion for the bridge, plaza and interchange. However, less than 10 percent of the total cost will come from Michigan, none of which will be General Fund dollars.


Brett said...

Hmm, a bridge is wanted. Two options. Funded by private money or funded by taxpayer money.

Naturally, the liberal wants the taxpayer to pay and despite railing against Republicans constantly, uses a Republican to enhance his argument.

It's amazing that Republicans are worthless until they are needed for credibility.

And the liberal doesn't even understand.


Communications guru said...

Perhaps you should do some actual research before you make a bigger fool of yourself by not understanding the issue. Your hatred of me and desire to attack me is clouding your judgment, pal. The taxpayers will not foot the bill, the people using the bridge will when they pay their toll to use it. Second, some functions should be left to government, such as national defense and control of public infrastructure.

The Republicans are worthless, but if a leading Republican is supporting the common sense approach, why is there still opposition? This is about money all right, but it’s about the money Moroun is spreading around.

And the conservative doesn't even understand.

Jesse said...

Every single Democrat politician and most democrat are the most worthless people on this earth

Communications guru said...

Every single Republican politician and most Republicans are the most worthless people on this earth.

Obama said...

The yellow belly Democrats will ruin this country.

God safe us all, at least the one that the Democrats did not kill as babies.

Communications guru said...

You’re an idiot, but you know that.
I dare you to stop posting anonymously and try and make an intelligent comment. I didn’t think you could.

Brett said...

These are your words from what you wrote on your blog: "The cost of the project to the U.S. will be approximately $1.25 billion for the bridge, plaza and interchange. However, less than 10 percent of the total cost will come from Michigan, none of which will be General Fund dollars."

It is apparent that you don't know where the Federal Government gets money from. It's TAXPAYERS money. Let's imagine for a moment that you're correct and Michigan pays less than 10%. Let's even say it's 5%. That's still $625 million from Michigan taxpayers, in addition to what the Feds pay from taxpayer money.

I just love the way you take my words and repeat them back at me. Try an original thought for a change.


Communications guru said...

Again, perhaps you should do some actual research before you make a bigger fool of yourself by not understanding the issue.

Second, those are not my words. The paragraph begins with the words, “According to MDOT…”

Third, the construction of bridges and toll roads are paid for by the people who use them in the form of tolls to use it. The re will be an initial cost to bond, but that will be paid back. There will also, I assume, a cost to maintain the customs and security at the bridge, like there is now, but that is money well spent. You have this weird mind set that taxes should not be spent on anything and they are evil or something, but this is an investment in the country, and an opportunity to band together to accomplish something we can’t accomplish ad individuals, just like the roads and highways you use to get to your job, if you have one.

I see taxes as an investment, and the price of living in this great country. Considering the crossing supports 7.1 million U.S. jobs including 221,500 Michigan jobs and one in three Canadian jobs, it’s a good investment. I don’t like paying taxes, but I understand the good is does.

I don’t think saying “And the liberal doesn't even understand” is an original thought, so when you say something stupid like that, I will throw it back at you by changing Republican for Democrat or Liberal for conservative. By the way, I have lots of original thoughts, like the 559 posts on this blog.

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