Anywhere else it would hardly rate as news at all: the lameduck session of the Michigan state senate deciding to take no action on enabling legislation for a new $5.3b Detroit-Windsor toll bridge that the senate had been taking no action over all this year. But passions run higher in these parts over bridge issues than over football, Obama, GM, Palin, basketball, Iraq...
The Canadians are spending $1.6 billion dollars of their taxpayer money on a beautiful Windsor Essex Parkway (WEP) to serve an international bridge that won't be built - the DRIC bridge or fourth crossing Michigan-Ontario. The recent American elections have brought to power a Republican governor, Rick Snyder, pledged to reduce waste and contain government spending, who has declared he favors the DRIC Bridge so long as it doesn't put taxpayers on the hook.
With the majority leader of the state senate Mike Bishop saying there would be no vote on P3 enabling legislation needed for the new DRIC bridge in Detroit unless they got revenue forecasts, Michigan transportation secretary Kirk Steuble flipped this week, releasing the secret Wilbur Smith Associates (WSA) forecasts.
The forecasts are that toll revenues will open in 2016 at $70m, rise to $124m by 2025 and by 2035 be $196m.
There's a new traffic study on possible future traffic at the US-Canada Detroit River crossing that is far less optimistic than the study done for Michigan DOT by Wilbur Smith Associates (WSA). Conducted by British-based international consultants Halcrow the rival traffic study was commissioned by the Ambassador Bridge company.
Detroit scribe Joel Thurtell says he's hearing that the Ambassador Bridge company is talking with officials at the City of Detroit about a purchase of the land under the approaches of the planned twin span. The bridge company's lack of title to the property has been a major political and legal impediment to its plans to build a modern, wider span alongside the old.
The Ambassador Bridge company has lost its appeal against a major demolition order obtained by the state. Judge Cynthia Stephens presiding officer of the Michigan Court of Appeals today denied leave to appeal, and a motion to stay the demolition order, saying simply that the bridge company had "failed to persuade the Court." (see nearby)
A judge in Detroit has given the Ambassador Bridge company 90 days in which to get governmental agreement to a controversial security fence or to pull it down. The company was sued over the fence by the City of Detroit whose lawyers said the fence was illegal and an encroachment on city land.
Michigan DOT have gone to court to try to force the Ambassador Bridge company to build connections to the interstate highways nearby in conformity with a contract for a project called the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project. The court case is one of a series of disputes and litigation the Bridge company - called Detroit River Bridge Company or DIBC - is involved in.