The Star’s View: Coast Guard permit brings DRIC bridge closer to becoming a reality

Last week a Washington judge told the U.S. Coast Guard it had carte blanche to grant the permit needed to start on the $1-billion Detroit River International Crossing.

It wasted no time giving its stamp of approval, which allows the process to move one step closer to reality. And why not? The Coast Guard determined back in 2009 that the DRIC project had “no significant effect on the human environment.”

It was Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun who was having the significant effect, and it wasn’t a good one.

There was considerable cheering on this side of the border, starting last week with the news District of Columbia Judge Rosemary Collyer had quashed an injunction request by Moroun.

His lawyers had claimed the permit would cause “irreparable harm” to Moroun’s business, but the judge saw it for what it was — just another ploy to delay the inevitable.

The good news is that virtually every strategy employed by the ruthless billionaire to protect his monopoly at the Windsor-Detroit crossing has failed, including trying to take on the Coast Guard.

The bad news is that it won’t stop him from trying again and again, and he’ll be aided and abetted every step of the way by the indentured Michigan Republicans who do the dirty work for him.

A few weeks ago, for instance, Republicans passed a motion forbidding the Michigan Department of Transportation from buying up any property related to DRIC this year.

That seemed strange — until the details came out. Canada had committed $631 million so cash-strapped Detroit could buy up property to make way for the feeder roads and plaza in Delray, which is where the bridge will land on the U.S. side.

MDOT was supposed to manage all the money and spend about $300 million of it to assemble the land. Purchasing was supposed to start in the spring. To date? Nothing has happened. The process was paralyzed by Republican interference.

It was no coincidence. Indeed, it was a blatant attempt to stall a deal that everyone from President Barack Obama to Gov. Rick Snyder — himself a Republican — wants done.

If Snyder decides to go through the Detroit Port Authority to get that property bought, it would be a brilliant move that would help thwart Moroun and his sycophants, who seem to forget they were elected to serve their constituents. It would be a great strategy, now that the Coast Guard permit is in hand.

Snyder spokesman Ken Silfven was happy with the Coast Guard approval, saying “The (DRIC) means jobs on both sides of the border.” He’s got that right.
Not only does it mean jobs, it means flowing billions of dollars in trade through this corridor. Maybe someone should tell that to the Michigan State Republicans.

Originally posted by The Windsor Star