The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 20, 2014

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

New Detroit River span clears hurdle

DETROIT – Yet another hurdle has been crossed in the quest to build a second international bridge over the Detroit River.

The U.S. Coast Guard on June 3 issued a permit needed for construction of the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, representing the last regulatory step toward getting the span built.

There are still things to do before construction would start. Property in both the U.S. and Canada must be acquired. There will no doubt be more legal challenges by Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Maroun. The biggest hurdle might be getting Congress to appropriate $250 million for a customs plaza on the Detroit side. The government of Canada wants this project to proceed so badly that it has pledged to cover every dollar of the cost of the bridge, including Michigan’s portion, and get paid back over time by bridge tolls.

Detroit is the busiest crossing between the U.S. and Canada, with 10,000 vehicles crossing daily.


Good time to register to vote

Communities across Michigan have important elections coming up this year for both local and statewide offices.

Hundreds of candidates are running for important local offices, plus there are elections for governor, state House and Senate seats, local judgeships, county commissioners and other races.

If you aren’t registered to vote, now would be a good time to do so: the next important deadline to register to vote is Monday, July 7 for the Tuesday, Aug. 5 statewide primary election.

To register, you be: a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old by Election Day; a resident of Michigan, and a resident of the city or township where you are applying to register to vote. You must be registered to vote at least 30 days before the election.

You may obtain a voter registration application at your local Secretary of State branch office, your local county, city, or township clerk’s office, or online at

Your local clerk can help with questions about your voter registration and polling place location.


Prevailing wage repealin road mix

LANSING – Turns out the now-ended arguments in the state Legislature about additional funding for state road repairs (there won’t be any) also had an element that had even greater concern to the building trades. It seems the threat of prevailing wage repeal was rearing its ugly head during negotiations.

As talks about road repair funding were heating up on June 5, Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer used a floor speech to point out that prevailing wage repeal was being bandied about by Republicans as a bargaining chip to get what they wanted. “For the first time, that was brought up today as some sort of linkage there by the Republicans,” said Whitmer’s spokesman, Bob McCann. “I’m not sure why and as Sen. Whitmer kind of said in her statement it’s not helpful.”

When asked by MIRS News Service if prevailing wage repeal was being used as a bargaining chip, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) didn’t rule it out. “Everything that’s been introduced, we have to consider,” he told MIRS. “We have a duty to the people that are represented to consider those things and my committee has prevailing wage (repeal) in there and I’m getting some discussion now where people want to take that up, yeah.”

It’s something to watch when the Legislature reconvenes after its summer break.