Well, I survived Messiah and though it was a marathon of a week, folks say it turned out pretty good. There was a lot that happened in the past week and a half, it being the last days of Michigan’s 2008-2010 legislature, which unfortunately didn’t turn out nearly as good. Particularly woeful was its handling of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), a grim tale to which now I turn.
Jack Lessenbury has covered the ongoing DRIC issue exhaustively, so if you need a primer, albeit less than neutral, to bring you up to speed, I encourage you to check out some of his Politics & Prejudices columns in the Metro Times, in particular the July 7 and September 22 pieces from this year.
Let’s start with Craig Fahle’s November 29 interview with State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first term Democrat representing southwest Detroit including the Corktown neighborhood I briefly lived in. She has bravely stood up for her constituents against Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun, whose recent antics are detailed here and here. Rep. Tlaib did a great job emphasizing the significant number of jobs the DRIC project would create, and noted a fact DRIC opponents conveniently neglect to mention: that the Moroun family’s proposal to a second span to Ambassador is simply dead in the water b/c of Canadian opposition. CF followed the segment an interview about the DRIC mess with Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Dan Duggan.
Unfortunately, as the Detroit Free Press revealed recently, the Morouns bought off virtually the entire Republican caucus of the state Senate, which also holds the majority. The result: Majority Leader Mike Bishop made sure it never made it to the floor.
Legislators meriting praise in this sorry episode, in addition to Rep. Tlaib, include term-limited state Democratic Sen. Ray Basham, who made what he called a “Hail Mary” pass to get the bill to the Senate floor, as well as Republican Sen. Rick Jones who was willing to divest himself of Moroun contributions.
Crain‘s reports the Detroit Regional Chamber intends to continue to making DRIC a priority. With Moroun toady Senator Bishop out, maybe there’s a glimmer of hope yet.