Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Expensive Fuel Brings Change to Transportation Industry

with 28 comments

Voice of America

None of this is exactly news to regular readers of this blog. But it does make me wonder what they read at the Ministry of Highway Construction – or the Gateway Council.

Over the last two years the economy of the US – and that means the world too – has changed. The price of oil may have fallen back a bit in recent months, but that is not a sign of good times ahead. No-one is predicting lower oil prices in future, and the US economy is going to take a while to turn around. If it does. Because if the Republicans are allowed to steal another election (John McCain just bought Diebold who make the voting machines) business as usual will return. Which puts off the recovery even longer.

Note that railways are flagged as the growth area for freight – and the need for  major infrastructure investments in track. Not one word about the need for more ports or freeways – and also that airlines are in trouble. BC’s transport strategy is designed for a time now long past and not liekly to return. It is time for Kevin Falcon to face up to this reality.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 19, 2008 at 7:49 am

Posted in Gateway

28 Responses

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  1. But Kevin Falcon and the BC bureaucrats will not face up to reality. They can’t because they are in the pocket of big BC business, who needs the recycled tax money badly, to continue in business.

    Road builders need new highways, to keep in business.

    Truckers want new roads to better compete with the railways.

    And on it goes.

    But the party must come to an end and it will soon, with horrific consequences. Phony accounting practises will show its ugly head, just like the sub-prime fiasco in the USA, and to use an old cliché – “The chickens will come home to roost.”

    New $billion$ dollar highways and vehicle only bridges, soon become yesterdays solutions, robbing the Treasury of monies much needed elsewhere for important transport projects.

    New $billion$ transit plans that provide little or no benefit, in stead of much cheaper and more efficient transit planning, will prove disastrous.

    The Americans are ‘getting it’, the Europeans have ‘got it’, yet here here in Canada and BC, we still spend massive sums of monies on obsolete transit planning and adhere to the ‘rubber on asphalt’ principle of transit planning – “the car uber all”!

    Malcolm J.

    August 19, 2008 at 9:10 am

  2. Yesrerdays news—The construction world is abuzz with rumour the kiewet has gotten the port mann twinning contract(not to sure of the spelling) –The same outfit that is doing the olympic road to the ski slope (for 3.6 billion dollars) The signs are out warning the the pre-loading will begin shortly on the trans canada highway in Burnaby.

    Evergreen line when? —-More buses when?—-LRT never?—5000 long term care beds when?—-Royal columbian hospital expansion when?—Surrey memorial emergency room expansion when?—Social housing when?—Raising minumum wage when?

    Campbell knows hes going down to a landslide defeat in may 2009, so hes in a big rush to award his corporate liberal party doner freinds.

    Grant g

    August 19, 2008 at 10:52 am

  3. Well Grant, a landslide defeat I think not and until the NDP start acting as the official opposition, Campbell & Co. may be reelected with a huge mandate.

    Not surprised if Kiewet or what ever they are called got the contract and one wonders how much they donated to the provincial election machine and a election machine it is. The spin is already out there and more to come. The dailies will give Campbell a free ride and with election fatigue (Civic and a federal election beforehand) it is Campbell’s election to lose.

    His slogan for reelection is the same for the Socreds of old – ‘Rubber on asphalt!’

    Malcolm J.

    August 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm

  4. Lasts months poll had the NDP gaining 6 points on the liberals, have a quick read on Bill Teilmans blog today.

    I would like to remind everyone that the opposition can`t stop the liberals, there is no difference between the NDP opposition than when the liberals were in opposition–The difference was the media, Campbell will lose his three island ridings they won in 2005–Campbell will lose Mission,north burnaby,two surrey riding,Campbell will be blown out in Delta and most likely lose Chilliwak,Rich Coleman will be ousted,and I suspect Ian Black will lose in Coquitlam.
    I follow the trends very closely, the BC liberals have a huge problem in the interior,the fiberals have done nothing to improve their standing since 2005 election.

    Have a read of( SCE RESEARCH) Glen Robbins has a number of interesting polls which show the fiberals are in big trouble!

    I was also remind you that IPSOS Reid polling has a working partnership with Canwest Global,Pembina polling is skewed with their methodology,there is another polling outfit,I forget their name but they are connected to howe street,CKNW with Palmer,Baldrey and Good on fridays is really just a liberal lapdog rap session.

    In a spot poll done on CKNW last month(unannounced) The question–Who would you vote for if a provincial election were held today–The results (off memory) was about —17 NDP –12 Green— 7 BC Fiberals

    The only ones in the province propping up the BC Liberals are the mainstrem media–I think olympic stardust is in their eyes.

    Harvey oberfeld blog site has a really interesting post from last month–All about Canwest Global and how they may go bankrupt,apparently the stock price of Canwest shares has gone from over 15 dollars last year to about 2 dollars today and apparently there is a real money crunch and they may be called on debt pressures,apparently their subscribers have been going the way of the dinosaur(extinct)–People have grown weary of blatant propoganda,people are no longer receptive to Canwest Global spin-

    Phoney polls are now the norm–The Federal liberals got bitten by the same phoney polls (paticularily the pembina institute poll- The ones about the enviroment) as a result with Celene Dion I mean stephan Dion,his green shit I mean green shift plan has doomed the federal liberals to 4 more years in opposition and I would bet every penny and asset on that outcome.

    So Malcolm J my freind,have faith,Campbell and company are history!

    Grant g

    August 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm

  5. Sorry that—–Bill Teileman

    Grant g

    August 19, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  6. I’m sorry but what exactly would the NDP offer that is an improvement?
    Would they stop Gateway and build LRTs?
    Would they stop the olympics and build hostipals instead?
    It’s easy to be a critic but alot harder to acutally offer better solutions.

    Not sure I follow what would be better, sure there would be changes no doubt but what improvements are we talking here???

    Joe Just Joe

    August 19, 2008 at 6:20 pm

  7. Joe–Just Joe—-Maybe your IQ is below 70 so your provincial funding won`t be cut off—–Go-ahead vote for a theif,liar,asset seller,vote for someone who looks you in the eye and lies to you,sells your province,one who just gave awat(illegaly) 17% of vancouver island,destroyed the forest industry with unabated raw log exports.

    Maybe your confused joe, selling provincial resources,oil and gas leases,gouging the public,selling 2000 rivers for 5000 dollars each,illegally firing 9000 woman heu workers in 2002,outsourcing everything and it doesn`t save us even 1dollar,it just cost us service levels, I have one thing to say to you joe—-Its so funny I had to hit myself in the head with a hammer—-P.S. you better but extra lube,you will need it if Campbell gets back in!

    Grant g

    August 19, 2008 at 6:56 pm

  8. Yeah the Liberals suck, but Carole James and the NDPalso suck big time.

    Even well known political prognosticator Alex G. Tsakumis (who dislikes the Liberals) recently stated:

    “If Carole James is elected Premier in 2009, we’ll be in deep trouble.

    Her leadership qualities are more suited to running a lemonade stand–on a good day.

    Almost every issue the Opposition has touched since 2005 has been splendidly mishandled.”

    Time to turf both the Liberals and NDP… BC has witnessed too much hypocrasy and dishonesty with these two parties in power.

    Time for a change, time for something different. Methinks it’s time for the Greens.

    Al

    August 19, 2008 at 7:21 pm

  9. Funny I find myself much better off financially now then when the NDP were in power. I also seem to believe that all those ROTR projects revert back to the province once the contract is up. I also didn’t realize that the Provincial government controlled the US demand for lumber. I guess there’s a lot I don’t realize as my IQ is under 70 as you put it, I guess when I become smart I will learn to vote as my union masters tell me. *sigh*

    I think it’s pretty clear that I won’t be voting for the NDP, I’d vote for the Socreds if they were still around, but I’m left voting for the Liberals as they are the closest party for me.

    Joe Just Joe

    August 19, 2008 at 7:47 pm

  10. Al, I am thinking the same.

    Green in 2009!

    Corey

    August 19, 2008 at 7:48 pm

  11. Funny Joe, I find myself a lot poorer off since the Liberals got in. Give me the bad old days of Glen Clark anytime!

    Malcolm J.

    August 19, 2008 at 8:47 pm

  12. Joe how come more raw logs are leaving the province today then 4 years ago,huh?

    How come the mackenzie mill is being bought by a alberta company?

    Do you realise that they found something to put in those empty shipping containers that they send back to China,raw logs
    Do you now realise that all our lumber is now milled in the USA!

    Harper gave BC 130 million for logging dependent towns,Campbell gave the money to accenture to dole out, at a cost of 6%

    Do you know that Campbell has over 2 hundred crony advisers working out of the premiers office.

    Now that we have entered the housing crunch there will be thousands of unemployed.

    The highest transit fares in north america.BC

    The highest fuel prices in north america.BC

    Do you know that despite record high commodity prices, Campbell has paid down zero debt, in fact they have added 2 billion to our debt,and put billions more on our bc credit card.

    I could go on for hours but I will waste no more breath on you, ” There is none so blind as those who refuse to see”

    Grant g

    August 19, 2008 at 8:54 pm

  13. Glen Clark and all of his buddies at the political trough????? Remember that???

    Resulting in the BC PUBLIC decimating the NDP to 2 seats in the biggest whipe-out in BC history!!!!

    And the INEPT Carole James as an alternative???? Give your head a shake. LOL

    I have a gut instinct that the Green Party leader, Jane Sterk, is gonna pull a Gordon Wilson a la 1991 at the leadership debate and win 17 seats from nothing just like Wilson.

    Sterk also topped the polls as councillor in NDP held Esquimalt.

    Al

    August 19, 2008 at 9:18 pm

  14. Funny how you spout rhetric but not facts. BC does not have the highest transit fares in the country not even close, you choose to quote the price of a 3 zone bus ticket as it suits your argument. If you took the same distance that you can travel on that 3 zone ticket and applied it in toronto you are at $6.75 and montreal $9.50 you would need to pay.
    Source
    http://www.translink.bc.ca/About_TransLink/News_Releases/news01080801.asp

    Maybe we’re selling raw logs to the US because they can process them cheaper then we can, even though we have the most productive mills in NA. Thanks to high union labour it’s still cheaper to ship them down south. Not much different then why GM is shutting down factories in Ontario even though they were among the most productive. It boils down to labour costs. How is the NDP going to solve that? I don’t expect the liberals to able to either but somehow you think the NDP will be able to fix this problem. I’m simply asking how.

    Also our debt-GDP ratio which is what really matter has been declining for years now and is second only to Alberta, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

    Joe Just Joe

    August 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm

  15. John McCain just bought Diebold? It seems you’ve scored quite a scoop! Sources please…

    Charles

    August 19, 2008 at 10:16 pm

  16. what IQ joe?—–First off Alberta is the only debt free province,and our gdp is falling big time, maybe your confused,the selling of raw resources doesn`t equate to a booming province,take away gas and oil royalties and this goverment is up to its ears in debt, maybe you think the gas supply in BC is endless,its not,ask Campbells climate guy dr.Jaccard, at the present rate of extraction there is MAYBE 20 year supply,the gas is NOT A RENEWABLE RESOURCE,our forest are,are rivers are but Campbell has sold out our forest sector to American interests, as for run of river,besides the fact we will be paying 5 times the price if we let bc hydro do it,after the 20 year,25 year ,30 year tenures,some 10 year water leases, the American companies can renew the 5000 dollar water lease and sell the power to the highest bidder,and because of nafta we couldn`t stop the power sales even if we tried.

    When the construction starts to sputter this year,like the housing is sputtering,like tourism is sputtering,like forestry is dead,hello recession,big time,this whole booming econmy was smoke and mirrors, 150.000 construction workers created the boom,now the bust,the real reason the illusion looked real is because everyone and their dog borrowed on equity,60% of seniors,and even higher % on home buyers from the 70 and 80s and early 90s borrowed to pay bills and buy cars,well that hen is now coming home to roost.

    The other illusion performed by Campbell is some foolish people think he lowered taxes,wrong,while he put 20 dollars in one pocket he scooped 50 out of the other with every conceivable user fee and increase.

    Try visiting the rest of the province one day,

    Bc has led the nation 6 straight years in child poverty,homelessness has doubled under Campbells watch,Campbell has shit on the elderly,the disabled,now the autistic,he has gutted WCB,its now a defacto taxation board only, a mere 60 injury pensions awarded in the last 5 years, when it used to average 600 a year up to 2001, it now has a 12 billion dollar surplus.
    I could go on but I won`t because you joe,ya just you joe only care about yourself,not anyone else,not your children, certainly not future generations, Campbells crimes against humanity and the enviroment will be written in the history books,whos your second favorite politician George Bush—-He must be because he and Campbell use the same smoke and the same mirror, we sure see how well Bush did down south with that economy,were next, —–Lots of other goons of history were popular too—MAO–Hitler—mussilini–mugambi–YOU JUST CAN`T SEE THE FOREST THROUGH THE TREES.

    Grant g

    August 20, 2008 at 1:22 am

  17. Joe, the fact is most cities do not have 3 zones and please do not quote TransLink as TransLink is less than honest. I have done many fare comparisons and Translink’s small 1 zone area really only benefits Vancouver (the centre of the universe). But what does become apparent is that when the second zone is compared, TransLink’s customers get screwed.

    Also not mentioned by TransLink is off-peak fares, 1/2 day fares or full day fares are sold at a greater discount.

    Let’s compare Portland’s TriMet fares:

    As of Sept. 1

    Adult All Zone ticket (2 hr.) $2.30 – 7 day $22.50 – 14 day $43.50 – 1 month $86.00
    All slightly higher in Canadian funds.

    Calgary Transit

    Cash Fare – $2.50 (No zones) – Day Pass $6.75 – Monthly Pass $75.00

    Vancouver

    1 zone – $2.50 (90 minutes) 2 – zone $3.75; 3 – zone $5.00

    Day Pass $9.00

    Monthly Pass: 1 – zone $73.00; 2 – zone $99.00; 3 – zone $136.00

    All three transit systems offer discounted fares for seniors and students.

    Translink’s 1 zone fares compare favourably with Portland’s and Calgary’s, but that’s it. Vancouver’s 2 zone fares are higher than the other two cities, where the fares cover all the system. Vancouver’s 3 zone fares are very expensive.

    Malcolm J.

    August 20, 2008 at 7:12 am

  18. Is translink being less then honest with the quoted fares for Toronto or Mtl?

    So when this recession hits, which I’m in accordance it’s coming, what would the NDP do differently that would spare us the damages you are predicting will happen under the Liberals?

    How would the NDP fix tourism declines caused by a high dollar and weak US economy?
    How would they reopen our mills? Stopping raw log exports will solve that? I don’t see people lining up to pay for our processed lumber at the prices we can sell it for. As much as I hate exporting raw resources at least the tree fallers are working.

    There’s no need to question my Iq or dish our insults, I think we can keep this going back and forth yet remain somewhat civil.

    Joe just Joe

    August 20, 2008 at 9:28 am

  19. Again, TransLink is disingenuous with the facts.

    The TTC’s (Toronto Transit Commission) fare is a flat rate of Cash $2.75, which entitles the customer to use the entire transit system including subway, streetcar and bus. $0.25 more expensive than Vancouver’s one zone fare but……is $.75 cheaper than TransLink’s average cash adult fare! Again Joe, beware of TransLink, they seldom speak the whole truth.

    The fact is, Vancouver’s fares are expensive, when compared to the service provided. Vancouver’s transit customers, are the highest subsidized have the best variety and frequency of service, pay the less, while suburban transit users, with much poorer service pay the most, yet they cost the transit system virtually nothing!

    When the regional taxpayer wakes up and smells the coffee that he/she has been sold down the river by many “liberal” municipal politicos, all hell is going to break loose and may very well split TransLink into two entities: a) The muni’s that have SkyTrain and b) the monies that don’t. This means that the heavily subsidized Vancouver $2.50 fare may increase to $4 or $5, showing the true cost of the transit subsidy in their city.

    Malcolm J.

    August 20, 2008 at 9:57 am

  20. Remember that cash fares are higher than the cost of Faresavers. Cash fares are high to encourage people to buy the Faresavers and make more use of transit (and less sorting and handling of coins).

    FareSaver Tickets:
    Book of 10 tickets
    1 Zone $19.00
    2 Zone $28.50
    3 Zone $38.00

    I understand that the London Underground also incorporates a significant difference between cash and Oyster card fares to encourage the use of the card (and discourage the use of coins).

    Ron C.

    August 20, 2008 at 11:56 am

  21. The same is true of the other transit operator’s, when purchasing advanced fares, they all give discounts. Portland’s 1/2 day ticket is one of the best values around.

    Malcolm J.

    August 20, 2008 at 12:50 pm

  22. Malcolm J —–Your wasting your breath,most people only want to believe the spin,how about going from paterson station to joyce station,one stop,2 zones,how come I can`t get a three zone fare with more than ninty minutes of time?–Try getting a bus from maple ridge trying to get to say richmond,My time is almost caput by the time I get coquitlam exchange.

    The big point is why people would vote for someone who lies,cheats,steals over and over again,sells out future generations, duh!—Why —Example #1–I don`t think Carole James would make a good manager,so I will vote for a liar and theif.
    Example #2—I don`t want a female premier,so I will vote for someone who is selling out the future of the province to his American corporate freinds.

    Example #3—What about the fast ferries and Glen Clarks patio deck—So I will vote for someone who lied and gave away our rail,17% of vancouver island,our rivers,600million over budget on the convention center,terrorised seniors,attacked the disabled,the autistic,and rewarded his freinds with 100.000.00 raise after a 25% raise after a 23 % raise, in 5 years, and someone who is allowing fish farms to destroy wild salmon with ZERO GAIN FOR THE PROVINCE OR THE PEOPLE!

    Nothing but fools, I voted for Campbell in 2001—I hated him within 6 months, I saw his true colours, mindless cattle are everywhere, a hudred million voted for George bush twice (lol)—How many regret that vote–hmmm

    Grant g

    August 20, 2008 at 3:18 pm

  23. Wow I suggest you move to manitoba then as the mindless cattle in this province outnumber the “smart ones”.

    Sorry to hear you’re poorer now then when the NDP was in power, I guess that limits you to a very small segment of the population as most of us are enjoying the tax cuts, my income taxes reductions more then cover my increased medical premiums and the new carbon tax.

    Joe just Joe

    August 20, 2008 at 4:49 pm

  24. joe—read todays —the globe and mail,the national/ click on the bc page,the story is called–“us housing slump helps drag down bcs economy” pay special attention to the part about gdp and how we are second to last in canada—lol—also the part about how little money they will be getting from property transfer fees,lol—-theres a link at the TYEE web site on the right side of the page–cheers

    Grant g

    August 20, 2008 at 5:14 pm

  25. Joe – you are wasting your time arguing with these guys. Stephen’s blog is a nice place to see interesting ideas on transportation, but arguing with the locals means arguing with people that use ideology first and logic distant second.

    Dejan K

    August 20, 2008 at 6:08 pm

  26. Dejan I noticed that as well, it’s hard to let it go sometimes though. I’ll try and restrain myself and thanks for the advice.

    Grant G, do you know what our debt-GDP ratio is? It is the second lowest in Canada behind only Alberta which does not have any debt, that ratio is declining each and every year. I don’t have time to teach a full economics course but take my word on it, that ratio is the most significant number and not total debt. Due to our low ratio we have been awarded the highest credit rating possible, Canada and Alberta are the only others that share that privileged. That rating lets us borrow money on the international market at much lower rates then other jurisdictions, money that can and is being used to build new hospitals, schools, social housing, and public transportation. They might not be building this things as quickly as you’d like but they are getting done. I’m not here to change your mind on who to vote for, I’m only trying to add a little balance to the heavy left slant here.

    Joe Just Joe

    August 20, 2008 at 7:07 pm

  27. Joe Just Joe, I would like to commend you for remaining civilized and rational. It makes it a lot easier to read and understand your argumentation.

    Ultraman

    August 21, 2008 at 10:58 am

  28. Charles

    I have been waiting for the source of that McCain story to get back to me by phone or email. Nada. I suggest you treat it as a joke … but one which might well turn out to be true

    Stephen Rees

    August 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm


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