Asking the Hard Questions that Need to be Answered About the NITC
Last week, Crain’s Detroit Business published an interview with Governor Snyder, in which the governor admitted there was no written agreement to guarantee Canada will pay for cost overruns associated with the new government bridge. And yet, the media continues to take Gov. Snyder and Canadian politicians at their word, refusing to ask the hard questions that need to be asked about how the NITC proposal puts Michigan taxpayers at risk.
This week’s issue of Crain’s features a letter from Pat O’Keefe, founder and CEO of the Michigan-based financial consulting firm O’Keefe and Associates, responding to the lopsided coverage of Proposal Six and the governor’s NITC proposal.
To view O’Keefe’s full report on the NITC, click here.
From Crain’s Detroit Business (10/28/12): Do analysis on Prop 6
The lack of in-depth analysis done by the media regarding the proposed new bridge is disturbing. We are shocked that the governor tries to pass it off as a “free bridge” when he hasn’t performed the analysis to determine that Canada’s unapproved commitment of $550 million to cover the Michigan portion is woefully inadequate. Will Canada really pay? If so, why isn’t the commitment in writing? The governor now admits Canada’s promise doesn’t exist in a legal document — a fact we have been stating for over a month.
My firm recently published a report that is available on our website analyzing the economics of the bridge. Our analysis used the state’s own numbers and showed the bridge is not needed at this time and is economically not feasible. It should be alarming that no responsible public official or media outlet has taken notice or started asking hard questions of the state.
Trucks will not suddenly mushroom from the ground with a new bridge. Truck traffic is down for many reasons, including the ongoing recession and the strengthening of the Canadian dollar. High-speed and double-stacked container rail capacity is being proposed for the crossing, which, in Gov. Snyder’s own words, will take trucks off the road. This has not been considered by the state’s “independent” international toll revenue forecasters, who receive millions in engineering contracts from MDOT. These forecasts are inaccurate.
Why hasn’t our governor forced the Canadians to sufficiently staff customs and immigration, grant the necessary permits for the proposed Ambassador Bridge twin span, and connect the Highway 401 extension to the existing crossing there?
Where is the outrage that a governmental unit can effectively put a private Michigan business, which employs Michigan workers, out of business by favoring a government-run competitor? There are so many questions left to be answered by our governor.
Crain’s report on Proposal 6 may have passed the weight test; unfortunately, it did not ask many of the hard questions regarding the underlying lack of detail or feasibility of the new bridge.
CEO and founder
O’Keefe & Associates Consulting LLC