May 27, 2010

Not a single House Republican votes for DRIC and 10,000 Michigan jobs

Michigan House Republicans are taking a page out of the federal Republicans in Congress, and not a single Republican voted yes on legislation clearing the way to build the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge over the Detroit river between Canada and Windsor on Wednesday.

After a couple of delays, the House finally took up and approved House Bill 4961 Wednesday that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada and a private sector developer/financier to build the DRIC bridge by a slim vote of 56-51, just one vote above the minimum, and not a single Republican voted with the Democrats to save and create 10,000 Michigan jobs. Nine Democrats crossed over to side with Republicans.

The project will have a tougher go in the Republicans-controlled Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, has said he will allow an up or down vote. But the biggest and most ferocious critic of the DRIC project in the Legislature - Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt – controls the Senate floor. Grosse Pointe billionaire and Republican benefactor Matty Moroun spreads his billions wisely, and he spreads it around in a few key places to gum up the works.

It remains to be seen how this will play out because some very influential Republicans are strong backers of the DRIC project, such as Republicans like Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson and former Republican Governor John Engler.

Employees and lobbyists of the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) and Moroun have been all over Lansing the last couple of weeks spreading misinformation and lies. One of the biggest and most passionate supporters of the DRIC project - Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit – found all four tires on her vehicle had been slashed last week. Although she has been out front on some contentious issues that ignite passion, like the Arizona illegal alien bill debate, she told subscription only “that she had trouble not seeing the tire slashing in context with her position on the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC).”

It’s a perfect way to get back at her. The bridge company knows she is so passionate that she will blame them for it, and they can act offended that she would accuse them of such a thing. If she keeps silent, they have the knowledge that they intimidated her.

Moroun and the bridge company launched a stealth but failed recall attempt against her last September, but they denied they were behind it. One tactic employees of the bridge company have used in their lobbying effort in the past couple of weeks was to threaten any House member supporting the DRIC that had a primary election that they would finance their opponent.

It remains to be seen when the Senate will take up the bill, but it will most likely go to the Transportation Committee first.

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