Can the Bridge Boondoggle Get Any Worse?

Below is an email we sent nearly 4 months ago.  It was in response to new legislation that been introduced that dealt with the government bridge boondoggle and community benefit agreements.
Fast forward to today where the bridge boondoggle legislation has recently stalled in the senate after not making it out of committee.  Rick Snyder and Randy Richardville have now indicated, according to news reports, that they are considering adding in the community benefit agreements to get Democrats to vote for it.  This email 4 months ago is now pretty pertinent.

June 22, 2011

Dear Michigan Patriots,

Can the Bridge Boondoggle get any worse?  You bet it can!

As you know, The Detroit Bridge is run by a private company at ZERO cost to the taxpayers. Instead of celebrating this, Michigan officials are trying to get the taxpayers to foot the bill for a new bridge.

SB’s 410 and 411 will create a brand new bridge and a new Private/Government “Authority” that will…

  • Create bailouts of the company running the bridge via availability payments
  • Shield the project from Freedom of Information requests
  • Use eminent domain to take private property and give to private businesses
  • Cut legislature out of its role in oversight of the "Authority”

This bill also cuts the voter out of voicing their thoughts at public hearings throughout the process.

How could it possibly get any worse, you ask?

It gets worse with all the additional bills that crop up around this horrible bureaucratic monstrosity and start dipping into the taxpayer’s wallet.

The first has already revealed itself.

A bill in the House Transportation committee plans to take full advantage of the taxpayer.  House Bill 4635 is just one add-on module that will kick off the public fleecing to come.

This bill will put the taxpayers on the hook for all kinds of money.

It states that the organization running the bridge will be required to enter into a “community benefits agreement” and provide the following:

  • Resources to some as-of-yet not created non-profit organization
  • Specific monitoring of noise, vibration, air quality, residential health, and truck traffic, both short- and long-term, in the project area
  • Job training and education for host community residents
  • Possible funding for start up businesses
  • Preservation and creation of parks and development of green spaces
  • New housing for displaced residents

Now here is the kicker--the taxpayer is ultimately on the hook for all of this:

  • If a contractor, developer, or concessionaire that enters into a community benefits agreement defaults in the performance of its allocated duties (the items listed above), the department or authorized entity, including a government agency (AKA taxpayer), shall perform the allocated duties.

So when Governor Snyder tells you that this bill won't cost the taxpayer any money, you will know the devil is in the details, and it will be what happens after the bridge boondoggle is passed that will really hurt.

Why wait to fight hidden tax increases later when we can just tell our representatives to vote NO on SB 410 and SB 411 now?

Contact your the members of the Economic Development Committee and let them know about HB 4635 and tell them to vote NO!

In Liberty,

Tony DeMott
Michigan State Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty






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