Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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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