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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2012/10/final-arguments-on-proposal-6/

Guest commentary

Final arguments on Proposal 6

Proposal 6 is a constitutional amendment to require a public vote before the state of Michigan could participate in an international bridge or tunnel project. The proposal is aimed at the Next International Trade Crossing, a bridge between Detroit and Windsor that will compete with Manuel Moroun’s Ambassador Bridge for freight and passenger traffic. For full Bridge coverage of Proposal 6 — and the other statewide ballot proposals this year — visit our Ballot Mania page. Advocates were asked to make their case on how to vote on Proposal 6:

No: Prop 6
is roadblock
to prosperity 

By Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

Michigan is driving toward a more prosperous future. Unfortunately, one special interest group is attempting to throw up a roadblock called Proposal 6.

Proposal 6 seeks to derail the New International Trade Crossing, a proposed bridge between Detroit and Windsor that is vital to enhancing the $70 billion-a-year trade relationship between Michigan and Canada.

Brian Calley became Michigan’s lieutenant governor on Jan. 1, 2011.

Michigan must be able to compete on the global economic stage. Modern, reliable infrastructure that allows us to access foreign markets is essential if we are to reap the unlimited benefits of exporting our abundant agricultural and manufactured products.

That’s why the NITC is supported by a broad coalition ranging from organized labor to manufacturers, including the Big Three auto companies.

More than 200,000 jobs in our state are tied to Michigan-Canada trade. Unfortunately, Proposal 6 is designed to protect one special interest rather than Michigan’s interest. It preserves the lucrative monopoly enjoyed by the Ambassador Bridge owners, who are funding the proposal and spending millions on deceptive advertising to stall Michigan’s progress.

The facts are these:

• There is no cost to Michigan taxpayers for the NITC, which will be designed, built and operated by the private sector. Canada has graciously agreed to foot the bill and will be repaid by tolls on the Canadian side of the border. The reason for such generosity? Canada understands the need to encourage trade and protect our mutual economic security. In fact, Canada considers the NITC to be that nation’s most critical infra-tructure project. It is taking on these additional financial obligations because it understands that Michigan is still rebounding rom the economic challenges of the past decade.

The legally binding agreement between our state and Canadian partners makes this crystal clear – Michigan taxpayers will not pay for this project. Period.

• The NITC won’t put anyone out of business. Michigan needs its existing crossings as well as  the NITC. In fact, the Ambassador Bridge owners can join other qualified vendors in bidding on the project.

• The project will generate a demand for more than 11,000 jobs during its construction, ccording to a Center for Automotive Research analysis. Nearly 1,400 permanent jobs will be  created for the bridge’s operation. 

• The existing Ambassador Bridge is more than 80 years old and wasn’t designed to accommodate the volume of traffic it has today. About 99 percent of commercial traffic is forced to use this crossing. And, because the Ambassador Bridge empties thousands of trucks  each day into downtown Windsor, this crossing is the worst traffic bottleneck in the entire Pan-  American Freeway system. In contrast, the new NITC will provide a direct freeway-to-freeway  connection between Michigan and Canada, allowing traffic to bypass residential areas. 

• Michigan can leverage Canada’s $550 million contribution to the project as matching funds for U.S. federal aid on Michigan highway projects. That’s great news for motorists in every corner of our state.

• Only U.S. and Canadian steel will be used. 

• Having only one Detroit-Windsor bridge jeopardizes our economic security. In December 2010 we saw how fragile the current system is, when a snowstorm halted trade across Port  Huron’s Blue Water Bridge. It rerouted trucks, causing extreme delays in reaching the Ambassador Bridge. The event resulted in significant production losses among auto  companies. The NITC provides a critical “safety valve” to alleviate similar situations. 

• Proposal 6 is poorly worded, defining an international bridge as “any” bridge put into use after Jan. 1 of this year. Imagine the financial and public policy consequences of asking Adrian voters to approve a bridge project in Houghton. 

The only people who win under Proposal 6 are the ones who are bankrolling it. 

Yes: Prop 6
protects us
against risk

By Pat O’Keefe/O’Keefe & Associates

Gov. Rick Snyder presents the proposed New International Trade Crossing as an integral part of a strategy to transform Michigan into an international hub for logistics and distribution.

As a business owner who specializes in helping others make sound financial decisions, I share the desire to make Michigan a better place to do business. Unfortunately, my extensive review of documents, studies and raw data related to the NITC has led me to conclude the project would be bad for Michigan.

Patrick O’Keefe is founder and CEO of O’Keefe & Associates Consulting, www.okeefellc.com

Peeling back the layers of this multi-billion- dollar project reveals overwhelming uncertainty and a startling lack of analysis that calls into question claims of a “free” bridge.

First, there is no demonstrated need for a new public bridge to Canada. The studies supporting the NITC make unreasonably optimistic assumptions about future traffic volumes, ignore correlating economic trends and directly contradict actual crossing data over the past 10 years.

Traffic forecasts are prepared by firms like the Corradino Group and Wilbur Smith Associates; these firms also have millions of dollars in engineering contracts from Michigan on the very projects they were asked to forecast traffic. Is it any wonder these forecasts show the new bridge is needed?

I cannot imagine a private-sector CEO making a $2.1 billion investment without incorporating the most recent data into forecasts, vetting the financing structure to withstand likely revenue and cost variations, and fully considering less expensive and more predictable alternatives.

Second, while the state has spent more than $40 million to study the NITC, it has not published any financial forecast demonstrating its economic feasibility. Why not? My analysis leads me to conclude the NITC is not economically viable.

Due to the NITC’s high costs and the absence of foreseeable traffic to generate revenue, Canada will not recover its spending on the bridge for at least 50 years, if ever. Michigan will not see NITC profits for a similar period due to its debt owed to Canada from the initial $550 million “loan.”  Without revenues, how will Michigan fund road maintenance and future improvements to the NITC?

In addition, the government will lose an estimated $747 million from lost toll and tax revenue from the Blue Water Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge, with Michigan’s direct loss being approximately $325 million. Michigan’s recent and planned investments in these existing crossings is more than $700 million. Why has no comprehensive analysis been conducted on optimizing use of the existing crossings or taking into account the reduction in truck traffic if the proposed $400 million Detroit-Windsor rail tunnel is built?

Finally, there is a strong possibility the NITC will cost more than estimated.  A recent study of large infrastructure projects revealed a 61 percent average cost overrun on such projects. The operative agreement regarding the NITC does not address who will cover Michigan’s cost overruns. And Snyder this week now admitted that he does not have Canada’s promise in a legal document, significantly increasing Michigan’s exposure beyond the $550 million loan Canada has softly agreed to contribute. If Michigan foots the bill, it will directly impact Michigan taxpayers. If Canada covers these costs, it will further delay – or eliminate – Michigan’s ability to ever participate in NITC toll revenues.

Until the full cost of the project is properly vetted, taxpayers will have potential risks and costs associated with the NITC. Snyder owes the public more information than he has supplied.

A “yes” on Proposal 6 will help force the governor to provide the public with more transparency and analysis on the above mentioned issues that raise serious concerns regarding the logic for and viability of building a new bridge.

Editor’s note: The study O’Keefe conducted of the bridge project was paid for by the Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

53 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. JoeBlog

    Lt. Gov. Calley claims: “The legally binding agreement between our state and Canadian partners makes this crystal clear – Michigan taxpayers will not pay for this project. Period.”

    Governor Snyder said the opposite last week in Crain’s Detroit:

    “Although a specific written agreement doesn’t exist, Canada will cover any cost overruns in Michigan for a proposed $2.1 billion Detroit River crossing — even beyond a $550 million pledge made two years ago.

    Gov. Rick Snyder, after wide-ranging interview with Crain’s staffers on Monday afternoon, confirmed that Canada has promised to cover all of the state’s costs that otherwise not picked up by the private sector orU.S. government.

    Snyder noted that Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Detroit-based Consul General Ray Norton, have publicly said Canada will assume all of the costs for what that nation says is its top infrastructure project.

    However, such a promise does not yet exist in a legal agreement. Snyder, who has pledged that the bridge won’t cost Michigan taxpayers a dime, expects such an agreement to be hammered out at some point later in the process.

    He and Harper in June reached an agreement to build the bridge, but the document that outlines the project didn’t directly address Canada covering all capital cost overruns inMichigan.

    1. grlaker

      Both statements say the same thing Joe….Michigan is not on the hook for any costs associated with the bridge. One agreement says it in generalities, and the other statement says we expect that future agreement called for by the first one will be more specific. I don’t see a conflict between the two.

      1. JoeBlog

        “Ironclad” means we will negotiate it later???

        1. grlaker

          Ironclad mean Michigan taxpayers are not on the hook today, and won’t be on the hook as we move forward

    2. Malik Washington

      Joeblog – your organization is a bit of desperation huh? A simple Google search shows that the team is operating under 4 or 5 pseudonyms in an attempt to cloud facts with, who knows what you would call it.

  2. JoeBlog

    Lt. Gov Calley claims that “The project will generate a demand for more than 11,000 jobs during its construction”

    The DRIC border road in Ontario was to produce 12,000 jobs according to the politicians. The Windsor Star reported 500 were created and local contractors were hurt financially by the foreign P3 operator.

    1. grlaker

      The DRIC Border road is just in its beginning stages of construction. No one said all 12,000 jobs were going top be produced on day one.

      1. JoeBlog

        You better come over and see how much has been done! Read the windsor star stories for yourself

        1. grlaker

          Its a 4 year project and they’re just in year one

  3. JoeBlog

    Lt Gov Calley claims that he Ambassador Bridge is needed but that it is in very poor condition. How can the owners pay for a new bridge if the Governments bridge takes away most of its business especially considering that traffic is down 40% from its 2000 peak

    1. grlaker

      The Environmental Impact Statement for the US side demonstrated that the Ambassador Bridge will continue to be profitable even after the NITC is opened to traffic.

      1. JoeBlog

        And taffic was supposed to triple although it is down 40% from its peak.

        And it was financially viable requiring “availability payments” for a ramp-up peiod only. That ramp-up is now a minimum of 50 years

        1. grlaker

          Just because a contract has a specified length, doesn’t mean the ramp up period take the whole length of a contract

    2. JoeBlog

      Gosh, I would have thought that both governments would have hurried through the building of the second Ambassador Bridge if its condition was so bad.

      After all, it is still needed even with DRIC/NITC.

      Strange that it has not been built yet.

      1. grlaker

        Sorry Joe, but since the Ambassador Bridge is private, its up to them to “hurry it through” the process.
        But as we saw in the Gateway Project, they seem to have some reluctance in following any process through to its conclusion.

  4. JoeBlog

    Lt Gov Calley claims “Ambassador Bridge empties thousands of trucks each day into downtown Windsor.”

    Someone needs to buy him a map. He is thinking about the Tunnel that dumps traffic into the downtown

    1. grlaker

      Congrats Joe, you got one right. Huron-Church Road is not in what would be the traditional “downtown” of Windsor. The Lt. Gov. should have said the bridge traffic is required to use a hevily travelled and congested commercial corridor.

      1. JoeBlog

        Had Canada used the $300M BIF fund money in 2002 to fix the road as it was supposed to do, we would not be dealing with this issue today.

        1. grlaker

          The BIF money was never intended to be used on one project for one crossing, that was just the proposal put forth bby the Ambassador Bridge, It has been used to address several problems affecting all of the corssings, which was the original intent.

  5. JoeBlog

    Lt. Gov Calley claims “Michigan can leverage Canada’s $550 million contribution”

    Michigan is already leveraging the Bridge Co $50M toll credits to fill a $200M hole in its Transportation Budget

    1. grlaker

      Actually Joe, that was for last year. This year there were no toll credits from the Ambassador Bridge and the Michigan Legislature was forced to divert $22 million from the general fund, money that otherwise would have paid for teachers, or police officers, or firemen.

      1. JoeBlog

        MDOT had said for years that it was not available. But it was

        1. JoeBlog

          Of course, the Ambassador Bridge project would also provide that credit and it could be used

          1. grlaker

            Actually, the Ambassador Bridge’s proposed project might generate some additional toll credits, but they would be different that the match that MDOT would receive for the Canadian $550 million investment. And since the current plans do not show the Ambassador Bridge making further changes to the interchange for their proposed project, they wouldn’t generate the same level of funding for the match.

        2. grlaker

          MDOT never said it wasn’t available. The Ambassador Bridge had been invited to make those credits available on several previous occassions, and in those situatuions, they had declined the invitation.

  6. JoeBlog

    Lt. Gov Calley claims “Having only one Detroit-Windsor bridge jeopardizes our economic security.”

    Had Gov. Snyder been as active as NY’s Gov Cuomo, our area would have had the pilot project for “reverse customs” that will be taking place at the Peace Bridge. The Administration failed Michiganders.

    Oh, as for the snowstorm, had Ontario invested in more snow plows, there would not have been the problem.

    1. grlaker

      Sorry Joe, wrong again. Unfortunately the Detroit-Windsor corridor was never a serious candidate for reverse customs since the bridge plazas on both sides of the border are inadequatly sized to handle the conversion, and both are landlocked in a way that makes expansion extremely difficult and/or expensive.

      1. JoeBlog

        Sorry, the Ambassador Bridge Company has been arguing for that for years for their crossing. Their plazas on both sides of the border are adequate for at least the next 20-25 years

        1. grlaker

          Well of course they have been making the arguement. But unfortunately there is very little evidence to support their argument. While the Canadian Plaza may be of an adquate size for its current operation, It obviously has no room to accommodate the US Customs conducting a reverse inspection on that site.
          By the way, the Government Services Administration in the US, the agency reponsible for providing the US Customs and Border Protection with the space to do their job, respectfully disagrees with your assessment that the US plaza is adequate for the next 20 to 25 years. Thier study, published in 2007 indicates that a significant expansion is needed at the Ambassador Bridge if the NITC is not constructed, And that some expansion might still be needed if the NITC is constructed.

  7. JoeBlog

    Lt Gov Calley forgot to mention these Agreement terms:

    “subject to all procedures and approvals required by Canada for the payment of funds, including appropriation by the Parliament of Canada, to pay for such costs and expenses” and

    “No provision of this Agreement shall be construed as a waiver of governmental or sovereign immunity by Canada or Michigan.”

    What does that legal mumbo-jumbo mean. Very simple. It means that Canada has not committed one single penny to build the new bridge and can walk away from the deal any time it wants without any penalty at all

    1. grlaker

      And if Canada walks away, then there is nothing to force Michigan to proceed. Michigan can also just walk away.

      1. JoeBlog

        Really, does that kind of a deal make sense in the first place??????

        Or is the whole thing a gigantic phony and a public relations tool to wave around pretending that there is a deal whenthere is none.

        See “ironclad’ or is it “rustclad” above!!!

        1. grlaker

          Joe, I agree that it wouldn’t make sense if one of the parties was planning to walk away, but niether is. So the clause is essentially meaningless, and its only in there because lawyers like to junk up simple agreement with a lot of contingency clauses that are essentially meaningless as long as both partners operate in good fairth.

  8. James Joseph

    Well, Matty Maroun, er, I mean Joe Blog, has been really busy this morning. With the millions of dollars from the Maroun family that goes into supporting this proposal, the more I get the feeling that this bridge is a good idea.
    Every independent evaluator has determined that this NITC is a good idea and in the best interest of the State of Michigan and Canada. The building of this bridge will bring many good construction jobs to Michigan and Ontario and the money will stay here. Vote NO on Prop 6.
    Face it, Matty just doesn’t want the competition. He wants to maintain his monopoly and is willing to spend millions to preserve it. Build the NITC and vote NO on Prop 6.

    1. Carl

      Can you point to a single study which shows toll revenue paying for the bridge? So far the Governerd hasn’t, and he is a numbers driven guy, right?

    2. JoeBlog

      And who are these evaluators? Where are their reports?

  9. AP

    When given the choice of government vs private, there is a reason why privatization is more healthy than government owning & managing.

    We once allowed a private enteriprise to build a bridge.

    And now we want to have government compete against that older bridge and run it out of business?

    Private companies are more competent in all aspects…. but they can’t successfully compete against governments.

    The arguments made by State of Michigan are embarrasing,,, lacking the fundamental of business 101.

    Even the issues are not framed. Is this incompetency? Or is this intentional politics,,, and incompetency is lurking down the road.

    I am NOT in favor of Constitutional Amendments,,,, but there doesn’t appear any other way to stop this runaway initiative by our Governor, who I voted for.

    Or, maybe I getting warmer to the idea of Constitutional Amendments ,,, that would tie the hands of our elected officials to not do anything except normal routine non-controversial business,,,
    In other words, in saddens me to say this, but when we’re talking about government, nothing is better than something,,, so maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment to ban government action except for routine,,, and anything non-routine should go before the voters.
    Ok,, you’ll say,,, that’s the job of the politicians.
    And I’ll say,,, How is that working out for us?

    1. grlaker

      Actually Jeffrey, the issues were framed in a very detailed way over the course of 8 years of study on both sides of the border,. You can find the documentation at http://partnershipborderstudy.com/

      1. grlaker

        OOps, Applogies to Jeffrey, the previous post should have been addressed to AP

      2. JoeBlog

        Check out the O’keefe report that demolishes their arguments http://www.okeefeandassociates.com/pdf/Economic%20Issues%20Behind%20The%20New%20International%20Trade%20Crossing%20-%20Oct%204%202012.pdf

        If the Government Bridge had been built based on their traffic projections, it would be bankrupt today with traffic down 40% from its peak

        1. grlaker

          Joe, first of all, the NITC forecasts were not based on peak volumes, and in fact only projected automobile traffic to eventually return to those volumes. Overall the NITC forecasts were for growth in the 1% to 2% per year range, and that is adequate to cover costs.

  10. Jeffrey Poling

    Mr. Joe Blog, just one overwelming fact before I offer my argument counter to your’s; Windsor, Ontario Canada will not allow Matty Moroun’s proposed bridge to enter Windsor where Mr. Moroun intends to build it. Period! Despite this, Mr. Moroun went ahead and prepared ramps to his twin bridge anyway!

    Regarding need, Mr. Moroun bases his argument against the need for a 2nd bridge on the period between 1991 to 2011, during which we suffered 3 significant recessions which negatively affected commercial traffic between the U.S. and Canada. While arguing that there is no justification for a 2nd bridge, he has spent $millions preparing to build his own 2nd bridge. His argument is in direct conflict with his actions. Canada remains the United States’ single largest trade partner. The need clearly exists and Mr. Moroun knows it. By focusing his argument against need, he hopes to divert attention away from his true objective – maintaining his monopoly by eliminating any and all competition to his Ambassador Bridge – Detroit’s only significant trade link with Canada.

    Although apparently legal, it is still astonishing that a private individual is allowed to own and control an international border crossing. The negative assertion that this is a government take over is absurd. Infrastructure such as bridges and roads are publicly owned the world over and for good reason. The Ambassador Bridge is the rare exception. In the interests of security alone, border control should be an exclusive function of government, not a private, lucrative monopoly as Mr. Moroun enjoys here in Detroit.

    The issue however, is much greater than public vs private control of bridges. It is public vs private control of government. While Mr. Moroun would have us believe in his “civic responsibility” with his “The People Should Decide” ballot proposal, he has repeatedly contradicted that by “buying” government officials influence with generous campaign contributions, influencial lobbyists and special interest groups such as Americans for Prosperity.

    Regarding Mr. Moroun’s community involvement, again his actions speak louder than his words. Consider the following:
    1) Posting fake eviction notices on the homes of Delray residents is a fear tactic which speaks volumes on the tactics he is willing to use to maintain his monopoly.

    2) Mr. Moroun has selfishly held up progress on the NITC knowing full well that the City of Windsor will not allow his twin bridge to enter the city. In January 2010, Mr. Moroun bought the Yellow Freight truck terminal in Delray which lies in the footprint of the NITC bridge. Coincidence or a tactic designed to delay the NITC?

    3) In direct defiance of MDOT’s requirements, Mr. Moroun built his own Ambassador Bridge plaza to incorporate a duty free store and a tax free fueling station meant to further line his pockets with cash. He has ignored Judge Edwards’ orders to rebuild the bridge approaches to comply with MDOT’s requirements and was jailed on contempt of court charges. As a last resort to quell Mr. Moroun’s defiance, Judge Edwards took control of the bridge plaza project away from Moroun and awarded it to MDOT.

    4) The most photographed and nationally publicized symbol of Detroit’s decay is the abandoned Michigan Central Station. Just recently, Mr. Moroun, the owner of the Michigan Central Station, announced that he will replace the windows and install a new roof. After 15 years of derelict ownership during which he has willingly allowed this once beautiful structure to decay and rot, he suddenly decided to express his civic responsibility. Sorry Mr. Moroun, you’re not fooling anyone – Too Little, Too Late.

    It should be obvious that this is not an issue of oppressive government control over private enterprise. It is just the opposite – it is Matty Moroun attempting to maintain his monopolistic control over the needs of our auto industry, the cities of Detroit and Windsor, the State of Michigan and two Countries.

    1. JoeBlog

      By statute, the Bridge Company has the exclusive right to build a bridge in the Corridor. If it was otherwise, then we would not have been playing this charade for the last decade. Now the Governments are trying to take away that right by their demonization campaign

      The Ambassador Gateway project was designed to accommodate the second Ambassador Bridge and the Bridge Co. spent $500M already to do so.

      The City of Windsor has no role to play in this matter constitutionally whatsoever.

      I would suggest you check how many border crossings are still “private.” Such as the one the Governor supports: the DRTP rail tunnel which wants hundreds of millions of public dollars to move forward.

      His second bridge was to provide an extra lane of traffic for traffic flow not capacity ie for NEXUS/FAST vehicles and to replace his old bridge

      1. grlaker

        The statute that authorized the construction of the Ambassador Bridge only gave then an exclusive right at their site. It did not give them an exclusive franchise to the whole river. Proff of that is the fact that congress also authorized another bridge over the Detroit River a few years after the Ambassador Bridge proposal was approved. Unfortunately, that second project was killed off by the great depression

  11. Anne Bickle

    Sorry, guys. We do need the new bridge and not one paid for by Mattie M. The current bridge does go into downtown Windsor, but on the west side. Whoever said that doesn’t know Windsor very well.

    I recently had a phone call from someone asking if I was for prop 6. No, I said and explained why. She kept harping on me and wanted me to say Yes. Enough is enough. Save your money, Mattie.

    I am a frequent crosser, having close friends in Windsor. My question – if traffic is down, why does Mattie want to build a new bridge next to his current one? In addition, I’ve spent many hours waiting in backups to get to the bridge near Mexican Town due to his unfinished portion of the highway. He finally was forced by the courts to finish his portion – how long did it take? Too long. He is trying every tactic in the book to cause the new bridge to fail.

    Mattie has spent millions of dollars to try and get prop 6 passed. Why should a private venture hold the new bridge hostage? I am angry that this is going before the people of Michigan. Most of the state doesn’t understand what really happens here in Metro Detroit and how a new bridge is urgently needed – one that is not private property. By the way, how many people do you know who actually own a bridge?

    1. JoeBlog

      Sorry but I LIVE in Windsor. Huron Church road is miles from the Downtown. Get a map.

      Backups are due to staffing at Customs booth, not bridge capacity.

  12. michael gonyea

    Important people generally make sure that there is something that might be considered truthful in words they provide for publication. These two distinguished guest commentors are included, While I share no such obligation, I am at the same time unburdened by, well anything that burdens them. If you ain’t got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose. Anyone interested in the simple truth can find it here: http://www.examiner.com/article/is-matty-counting-on-the-people-to-stop-new-bridge

  13. grlaker

    Reegarding Mr. O’Keefe’s side of the arguement: While his firm did review some documents, they conveniently avoided reviewing the document that established the need for the project. The forecasts made to support the NITC are consistent with forecasts recently presented to the Michigan Legislature by the Detroit-Windor Tunnel and the Detroit River Rail Tunnel project. Both of those forecasts were touted as resonable forecasts by no less an authority than Representative Opsommer, Chair of the House Transportation Committee.
    While Mr. O’Keefe likes to lablel the forecasts as unreasonable, he made no attempt to show where the forecasting process used by the NITC team deviated from either standard forcasting processes, or even industry best proactices. His firm than proceeded to make their own forecast using only two variables (US GDP and US Automobile Production. The NITC process use both US and Canaadian GPD, both US and Canadian automobile and light truck production, and industry forecasts for the next three largest industries involved in cross border commerce. I will leave it to Bridge Magazine readers to decide which approach appears to be more thorough.

    1. JoeBlog

      DRTP—who want Governments to provide them money to build their project????

      As for the Tunnel, their projection of traffic increase was about 1% per year. That would not pay for the DRIC costs

  14. grlaker

    Mr. O’Keefe’s study was also deficient in that it only looked at potential costs of the NITC Bridge without accounting for any revenues the Bridge would generate, or the impacts of other economic activity likely to be generated by the proposed Bridge. When those things are taken into account, the potential losses suggested by the O’Keefe Study vanish, and the bridge becomes either a net neutral to the state, or a positive.

    Mr. O’Keefe also erred in his assessment of the potential for cost overruns. First he assumed the NITC cost estimates were in 2009 dollars, which they weren’t. And secondly he failed to recognize new proceedures for cost estimating on large projects that are now required by the federal governemnt to avoid the kind of underestimation that occurred on project like Boston’s “Big Dig” The project may still end up with cost overruns, but that most assuradly won’t be of the magnitued seen in previous large scale projects.

    Even if there are cost overruns, Michigan is not at risk. As pointed out in the Lt. Governor’s article, Canada has agreed to carry all the rick on this project. There is zero exposure for the Michigan taxpayers. (unless, of course, you actually use the bridge, in which case your tolls will be helping to pay all the costs)

    1. JoeBlog

      Nice debating with you but I have work to do now.

      Too bad that neither the Governor nor the Lt Governor had the guts to debate Matthew Moroun or Dan Stamper publicly over this to educate the public.

      Oh well.

  15. JoeBlog

    As a Canadian taxpayer, I cannot afford the up to $100B that we will have to put in if Consul General Roy Norton is correct. We have our own infrastructure issues in Canada.

    We can all argue about numbers all we want but when the Agreement itself says that government guaranteed availability payments will have to be paid for at least 50 years with no maximum timeframe given, then all I can say is “no thanks!”

  16. Figurethis

    to see the inconsistency, hypocrisy and lies of the “Yes” side, note the following:

    The Niagara area has lower overall truck and passenger traffic than the Windsor-Detroit area. Further, it has 3 public bridges and 1 dedicated to NEXUS pass holders. Yet looking at the website below, put up by Moroun, he is justifying and planning to build another bridge in the Niagara area. This man and his company say the exact opposites from opposite corners of their mouth. He has also said that he wants to add a twin to the Ambassador bridge. So basically, for Moroun, the only time another bridge is needed anywhere is when it will be his bridge.

    http://www.ambassadorniagara.com/

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