Ooops, You Fingered the Wrong President
By: Carolyn Hileman
Everywhere you go these days all you hear about is the NAFTA super Highway, how this is some secret plan Bush hatched while we were not looking. Even some of the trusted news services have it labeled as Bush’s dirty deal and some senators are even going around calling for him to go public with the details. One problem with all of this, this is not Bush’s baby and putting a democrat majority in just might have sealed the deal. You see this was guess whose sweet deal and you can bet that there are some kick back dollars going in his direction if he can get it pushed through and we just gave him the ability.
On July 23, 1997, The NAFTA Superhighway Coalition was formed. It is a not-for-profit corporation. Its mission is to team Federal and Provincial authorities with private business to promote a National Transportation Policy that will include improvements to Highway 401 and associated corridors for facilitating the movement of people and goods to and from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Coalition is regional in perspective since Highway 401 and associated corridors stretch across numerous regions in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Hence, its scope embraces many communities including Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham, London, Hamilton, Fort Erie, Barrie, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.
Notice the date up there, who was the president then? Think hard, I know you can get this, everyone say Clinton, come on, say it with me Bill Clinton. As usual Bush is blamed for his screw ups and Clinton gets credit for doing nothing, well today I want to give Clinton some credit because he has gone beyond my belief that he could pull something like this off and still have no stain upon him.
It’s peak rush hour on U.S. I-35, North America’s busiest trade artery. International cargo is rocketing along its 1,585 miles (2,536 km.), bound for every corner of the globe. In fact, I-35 has become its own economic engine, powering unprecedented growth at every major intersection.
Stretching from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minn., I-35 links the world’s wealthiest continent, with US$7.5 trillion gross domestic product. And I-35 traffic is still accelerating, pushed by growing international market demands and trade barriers’ rapid fall.
Five years ago, North American nations celebrated the U.S. decision to designate I-35 a “High Priority Corridor.” Then, 1994′s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created a still-rising continent-wide swell in cross-border trade.
NAFTA inspired the formation of North America’s Superhighway Coalition (NASCO), which aims to ease trade flows and attract more funding for I-35, dubbed by supporters “the NAFTA Superhighway.”
A ‘Smarter’ I-35
Now, NASCO wants I-35 and connecting trade highways designated as an “International Trade Corridor,” a more global and “smarter” superhighway.
NASCO is proposing high-tech “international trade processing centers” in major I-35 cities, says Tiffany Newsom, coalition executive director. The centers would rapidly track I-35 trade, spurring faster flow and cutting transportation costs.
Already, U.S. North American Trade Automation Prototype (NATAP) pilot projects are in place. Participating vehicles carry transponders that electronically track and pre-approve cargo movements, eliminating standard border processing.
NASCO member Laredo, Texas, home to the world’s busiest inland port and nearly 75 percent of U.S.-Mexico truck traffic, is a NATAP test site.
Another test site is at the Ambassador Bridge at the U.S.-Canadian border at Detroit, Mich., a NASCO member through its I-94 link to I-35. NATAP equipment automatically debits a toll account for participating U.S., Canadian and Mexican firms crossing Ambassador Bridge, North America’s busiest border crossing, with 10 million-plus vehicle crossings in 1996.
The area is also the site of the $100 million Gateway Project, a host of traffic-flow-facilitating projects spearheaded by Ambassador Bridge and the Michigan Transportation Dept. Already, Michigan ranks as the No. 4 U.S. exporter.
Now I know that it does not matter any more if we prove that Bush did not start these messes because even those who swore loyalty to this man would have his head on a platter if they could, but I for one am not one of those and from this moment on refuse to read or write anything else concerning this matter. You have your minds made up and no amount of logic is going to penetrate, so I am not going to be wasting my time trying to convince you otherwise. But you fingered the wrong presidentâ€¦
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