Sep 30, 2008
Leading state Republican says debate over DRIC study is moot
It has been a confusing week where the party of Wall Street voted against Wall Street, so it was no surprise that a leading state Republican came out in support of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC)study.
Michigan House and Senate Democrats have supported the DRIC study that wants to build a new public-private bridge about a mile from the current Ambassador Bridge, but Senate Republicans, led by Alan Cropsey, are carrying water for Grosse Pointe billionaire and Republican benefactor Matty Moroun’s plan to build a second, private for-profit Ambassador Bridge and keep his monopoly intact.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has voiced his support for the DRIC study in the past, but Tuesday he joined Richard Blouse, Jr., president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, in an OP-ED in the Detroit Free Press in support of the DRIC study.
"Political infighting and special interests cannot be allowed to stop economic progress in the Detroit region."
Truer words were never spoken, especially when considering the Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commercial border crossing in all of North America, handling 20 percent more trucks than its closest competitor and almost double the commercial traffic of the next busiest crossing on the Canadian border. In all, almost 30 percent of all U.S./Canada trade and over 25 percent of the truck traffic between the U.S. and Canada passes through the Detroit-Windsor gateway. This U.S.-Canadian trade directly supports 7.1 million U.S. jobs, 221,500 Michigan jobs, and one in three Canadian jobs. More than $1 billon in trade crosses the bridge everyday.
Brooks and Blouse summed up clearly why the debate should end:
"This is really a moot debate, because the Canadian government passed a law prohibiting the proposed location of a private bridge that would dump additional traffic into downtown Windsor. Therefore, the next viable option is a public bridge, which is what DRIC is attempting to accomplish."
Cropsey is doing everything he can to help Moroun, including a threat to shut down the state government. His delaying and blocking tactics may lose the international crossing altogether.
"However, the longer the delay with DRIC, the greater the risk the bridge project will move somewhere else. Buffalo, a community that would welcome the jobs and investment from the project, is poised to build another international bridge if the DRIC process falters. Another bridge crossing between the United States and Canada is going to be built. The question has come down to location."
"This is the oldest political trick in the book by those wishing to obstruct an initiative. We cannot allow petty politics and jockeying among special interest groups to threaten the new jobs and investment in the Detroit region, an outcome that would have a negative ripple effect throughout Michigan's already troubled economy."