Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Bridging the truth
. . . .

Bridging the truth

Robert Downes - June 27th, 2011
If you’ve watched any TV at all in recent months you’ve been waterboarded
with a flood of ads lambasting the “Government Bridge” proposed to link
Detroit and Windsor in Canada.
These commercials have all the nuance of a wedding cake sliced with a meat
axe. It’s a wonder they don’t refer to the project as the “Gub’mint
Bridge” for Snuffy Smith types who can’t handle three syllables.
Backing the commercials is billionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun, an
84-year-old trucking tycoon who owns the Ambassador Bridge which links the
U.S. to Canada. Moroun purchased the Ambassador Bridge 32 years ago and
has owned a monopoly over one of America’s busiest and most important
trade routes ever since.
But if you’ve ever had the misfortune to cross the 82-year-old Ambassador
Bridge, you know that it’s a narrow, run-down structure that is inadequate
to handle the 9,000 vehicles which cross it each day.
So the “Government Bridge” is mostly bad news for Moroun, whose ads
trample the truth for the sake of his own pocketbook.
The correct name of the proposed “government” bridge project is the
Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), which would be located two
miles downriver from the Ambassador Bridge.
“How much will this ‘free’ bridge cost your family?” asks a flyer
targeting State Senator Howard Walker’s vote on the project. Although the
flyer insinuates that taxpayers will pay for the new bridge, one can
imagine it won’t cost the average Michigan family one tin nickel, since
the bridge will be paid for with tolls and bonds over the course of
decades.
Three years ago, Canadian officials offered to loan Michigan $550 million
to begin construction of a new bridge. According to the Michigan
Department of Transportation, the bridge would raise more than $70 million
in tolls during its first year, with up to $240 million raised per year by
2040.
The Big 3 automakers are all in favor of the new bridge, as is the mayor
of Detroit. General Motors employs 9,000 workers in Canada, while Chrysler
employs 11,000. A better bridge is needed to shuttle auto parts back and
forth across the border to increase trade and jobs in both countries. In
Ford’s case, dailyfinance.com reports that the company sends 600 trucks
across the border at Detroit every day.
Governor Rick Snyder is urging construction of the new bridge, as are
business interests across the state. The private/public project would
create thousands of good-paying jobs in a town that desperately needs them
and would improve Michigan’s trade and tourism with Canada.
But, according to a recent column by Phil Power of The Center for
Michigan, “Moroun has been spreading campaign contributions thick and fast
around Lansing. As a result, a bunch of legislators – primarily
Republicans – oppose the public-private project the governor favors. They
say they’ll only approve an all-private bridge — meaning one built by
Moroun himself.”
According to an investigation by the Detroit Free Press, Moroun parceled
out $1.5 million in 2009-10 to backers of his plan. That included 45
Michigan legislators.
This is outrageous. Michigan and Detroit need jobs and the trade that a
new bridge would provide. What we don’t need is a legislature that caves
in to the cash of a single billionaire -- and one who plays us all as
fools to boot.
If nothing else, the “Government Bridge” deserves our support as payback
to Moroun for interrupting American Idol and reruns of Two and a Half Men
with his irritating, insulting commercials. These ads assume that
Michigan citizens are the sort of dim bulbs who have an automatic kneejerk
reaction to anything slapped with a “government” label. “We the people”
elected our government -- we’re not all government-hating members of the
Tea Party or the Timothy McVeigh Fan Club.
Enough! Ask State Senator Walker and your local representatives to
support the new bridge proposal for more jobs in Michigan and the common
good.

 
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