A staple of modern Conservatism is that the private sector is always better than the public sector. So Conservatives must be overjoyed at the existence of private ownership of the only bridge that connects
Detroit and Canada. This bridge monopoly has brought it owners
huge profits, and because the bridge is old, and contributes to huge traffic
jams it has stifled economic growth in Michigan,
growth the state can ill afford.
So why didn’t the state of
just build another bridge? Because lobbying by the owner of the private bridge has prevented legislative
action. But now the state’s Republican
Governor has acted, and has reached a deal with Michigan Canada that on paper (and over the
like a very good deal indeed.
First of all no state of Michigan money will be involved and
Canada is really pitching in here.
Among the other details:
—No state money will be used and no state appropriation is required to pay it off.
can use Canada's expenditure
of $550 million to qualify for
matching funds for highway projects elsewhere in the state. U.S.
will make annual payments to
the contractor to design and construct the bridge and for ongoing maintenance
during the course of a 40-50-year public-private partnership agreement. Canada
—Tolls will be charged only in
reimburse it for costs. Canada
will pay for land
acquisition in both countries. Canada
will pay to connect the bridge to Interstate 75 between the Ambassador Bridge
and the . Rouge River Bridge
—The public-private partnership deal must include community benefit plans for impacted areas in
and . Canada
Of course, the 'job destroying' Obama Administration was crucial here, allowing
But hopefully common sense and public interest will prevail over the greedy demands of a millionaire wanting to preserve a monopoly at public expense. And maybe
Michigan voters will
reward Mr. Obama with their votes in the fall.
But maybe not, after all he doesn’t support tax cuts for the wealthy.