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2008 House Bill 5808: Appropriations: 2008-2009 Transportation budget (Senate Roll Call 337)
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Amendment offered by Sen. Ray Basham (D) on May 27, 2008, to strip out a provision that allows the transportation department to finish a $20 million Detroit River international crossing (DRIC) study, but only on the condition that this does not bind the state in any way to construction or future action on the project. Note: The owner of the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario has proposed building a second bridge with essentially no Michigan taxpayer dollars; the DRIC project would use state money to build a second bridge a short distance away. The amendment failed 18 to 19 in the Senate on May 27, 2008.
View All of House Bill 5808: History, Amendments & Comments 

The vote was 18 in favor, 19 against, and 1 not voting.
(Senate Roll Call 337 at Senate Journal 52)

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Against Against
Not Voting Not Voting
21 total votes
17 total votes

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The amendment



Anderson (D)Barcia (D)Basham (D)Brater (D)Cherry (D)
Clark-Coleman (D)Clarke (D)Gleason (D)Hunter (D)Jacobs (D)
Olshove (D)Prusi (D)Schauer (D)Scott (D)Switalski (D)
Thomas (D)Whitmer (D)   


Patterson (R)




Allen (R)Birkholz (R)Bishop (R)Brown (R)Cropsey (R)
Garcia (R)George (R)Gilbert (R)Hardiman (R)Jansen (R)
Jelinek (R)Kahn (R)Kuipers (R)McManus (R)Pappageorge (R)
Richardville (R)Sanborn (R)Stamas (R)Van Woerkom (R) 


Cassis (R)


  n  Allen (R)Y    Anderson (D)Y    Barcia (D)Y    Basham (D)  n  Birkholz (R)
  n  Bishop (R)Y    Brater (D)  n  Brown (R)  -  Cassis (R)Y    Cherry (D)
Y    Clark-Coleman (D)Y    Clarke (D)  n  Cropsey (R)  n  Garcia (R)  n  George (R)
  n  Gilbert (R)Y    Gleason (D)  n  Hardiman (R)Y    Hunter (D)Y    Jacobs (D)
  n  Jansen (R)  n  Jelinek (R)  n  Kahn (R)  n  Kuipers (R)  n  McManus (R)
Y    Olshove (D)  n  Pappageorge (R)Y    Patterson (R)Y    Prusi (D)  n  Richardville (R)
  n  Sanborn (R)Y    Schauer (D)Y    Scott (D)  n  Stamas (R)Y    Switalski (D)
Y    Thomas (D)  n  Van Woerkom (R)Y    Whitmer (D)  

Senate Roll Call 337 on The amendment



"no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on May 29, 2008 
Senators Pappageorge and Hardiman, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the adoption of the amendment offered by Senator Anderson to House Bill No. 5808 and moved that statements they made during the discussion of the amendment be printed as their reasons for voting “no.”

The motion prevailed.

Senator Pappageorge’s statement is as follows:

You know, the underlying issue here, colleagues, is separation of powers. What these amendments are trying to do is to allow MDOT to proceed as if they have an okay to build a bridge. And the whole time we are deliberating on whether or not we ought to be building a bridge there, MDOT will be spending money to do exactly that. That is why the transportation bill is written the way it is, to assert the fact that there is a separation of powers issue here, and the department should not proceed as if they have an okay to build a bridge until we’ve seen that study and deliberated.

So I would urge my colleagues on all of these amendments and all these things about this would be a wonderful place to build a bridge and all the support from various people—don’t be distracted. The issue is separation of powers. We see that study, and then we decide whether MDOT should be spending taxpayer money to start building a bridge.

Senator Hardiman’s statement is as follows:

Mr. President, I rise to oppose this amendment. There is already language in the bill which allows for the completion of the DRIC study. It simply requires and is pretty tight that the department would come back to the legislature. This has already been stated that that should be the process anyway. We should not allow the department to move forward without that. The language in the bill provides for that, so I would oppose this amendment.

"journal statement"  by Admin003 on May 29, 2008 
Senator Basham’s first statement is as follows:

Another year, another budget—another transportation budget, same issue. This amendment actually strikes language that is very detrimental to the DRIC process. For those who don’t know what the DRIC study is, it is the Detroit River International Crossing study. There has been a member of this chamber trying to kill that study. The study is almost complete, and this is just further language that would stop, basically, commerce in this country. Thirty percent of the commerce between Canada and the U.S. goes across an 80-year-old privately-owned bridge.

There are 24 international border crossings in this country, 22 of them are publicly-owned. The DRIC process would be a public-private partnership financed by private equity bonds the same way as the Ambassador Bridge project if it were to proceed forward also. I am not in favor of killing the Ambassador Bridge from double-spanning their bridge if they can get all the permits and get an approval from both Canadian and American governments. But for the Ambassador Bridge folks to kill a public study, public progression of MDOT, and the Canadian government, it’s a bilateral study. The Ambassador Bridge could very well be a bridge to nowhere because they do not have Canadian approval.

As a matter of fact, the Canadians have passed C3 legislation actually preventing a privately-owned international border crossing into Canada. Canada is actually our partner, and we need to make sure that when we go forward with any kind of study or any kind of approval for an international border crossing that we include neighbors to the north. They have been good neighbors, and that is why I am wearing a lapel pin today that shows both the U.S. flag and the Canadian flag.

This amendment, my amendment, would actually strike the troubling language that is in the transportation budget that essentially kills the DRIC study, a study supported by the Auto Alliance, Automation Alley, the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan manufacturers, and others. There is a reason that these business groups support the DRIC process going forward.

I would encourage members to think long and hard before not supporting this amendment. This has to do with jobs, commerce, and our country’s future as well as Michigan’s. So I would encourage your support of my amendment.

Senator Basham’s second statement is as follows:

First of all, the Legislature still retains budgetary review over any MDOT spending on this project. Secondly, if a decision is made to go forward with the public ownership and operator, the Legislature will need to create authorizing and enabling legislation for an authority and would have the opportunity to write in oversight requirements if the Legislature so desires. Thirdly, if the decision is made to go with the public-private partnership route, then the Legislature will need to create legislation to allow that and could write their own oversight rules into this legislation.

There is a reason that the Auto Alliance put out a letter supporting this project. And if I may quote them, it says, “The purpose of this letter is to strongly encourage you to continue to fund the DRIC project.” And we are getting hung up on the word “study” leading to a new crossing in the near future. I personally would support if the Ambassador Bridge gets their double span and they get their permits—that’s fine—but certainly not stopping the DRIC project.

So we won’t talk about narrowing it to just the study. Let both projects go forward, and let’s support commerce in this great state of Michigan.

"no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on May 29, 2008 
Senator Cropsey’s second statement is as follows:

I appreciate the Senator from the 8th District getting up and explaining, but he never pointed out where this language—chapter and verse, so to speak, or page and line—kills the DRIC study. It does not kill the DRIC study. It authorizes the DRIC study to go forward and to be completed. I don’t know why he would want to take this language out that says that we need to maintain control of the Department of Transportation through the budget process, and make sure that they don’t go spending money beyond the DRIC study unless we have specifically authorized it.

Now, if you want to give up your rights as a Legislature in order to appropriate money to make sure the money is being spent properly, then fine, adopt the Basham amendment. But if you think maybe the Legislature ought to have some say in how monies are appropriated in this state, which I believe is our constitutional duty to do so, then we will want to turn down the Basham amendment.

So I would hope that as you take a look at this that you would say, “Let’s keep the current section in there, and let’s not just let this department run wild.” If you recall last year, a major concern that we as a Legislature had was that the previous year we had tried to stop the DRIC study. The Department of Transportation told us, they said, “All that was worded in such a way that we thought we could go ahead and do the study anyway, which they went ahead and did so, in spite of the fact that they knew the intent of the Legislature was not to do the study at that time.

And because the Department of Transportation put us over a barrel, where they used a lot of federal dollars, millions of dollars in federal money, we would have to pay that all back if we didn’t get the study completed after they went forward with the study. We said, fine, we will put a couple million of state tax dollars into it to finish the study, but nothing beyond the study unless you come back and get specific authorization from us as a Legislature.

So I would urge that we turn down the Basham amendment so that we maintain control of the state purse strings and don’t allow a department to run roughshod over us and try an usurp our authority as a Legislature to appropriate the proper monies

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