Stephen Rees's blog

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

Agreement in Principle on Port Mann Project

with 4 comments

Press release from MoTI

Kevin Falcon’s on again, off again announcement turns out to be a bit of damp squib. Given that there is only one bidder – and that it is in deep financial trouble – the famed P3 that was going to pay for it all has now been turned into a 1/3 – 2/3 split – with the taxpayers fronting one third of the funds. Somehow all the costs – which have ballooned since  the idea was dreamed up – are still going to be paid back at $3 a car. Note too that it’s title has been shortened. Because the freeway expansion that goes with the bridge twinning and ensures that the traffic congestion we have now will be twice as bad in future is not being given much prominence.

By the way, only the traffic that crosses the bridge pays the toll. All the other freeway trips will be free

And finally the release states

“The Port Mann / Highway 1 project will reduce congestion and travel time, improve safety and accessibility, and allow buses to travel over the Port Mann Bridge for the first time in over two decades. It will save valuable time for truckers, expand lanes for HOV, cyclists and pedestrians, and will also accommodate potential future light rapid transit.”

Normally you expect statements like this to have some foundation in reality. Not one of these statements has any foundation in fact.  But then that is the first principle of propaganda – lie and make the lies grandiose. Big lies – repeated often enough – will be accepted as truth.

The reason the consortium cannot raise money is not that they are asking for too much. It is because the financial markets have been burned rather a lot lately – and therefore they are not keen to get burned again. Real questions remain about the viability of this project – and Kevin Falcon has no answers. So in the current spirit of bailing out the biggest losers (banks, automobile makers) Falcon is just throwing money at the problem. Our money.

And, of course, we are still a couple of months away from the recently extended deadline.

It looks even less like a Done Deal to me

Written by Stephen Rees

January 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Transportation

4 Responses

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  1. You nailed it Mr.Rees–Propoganda, This is nothing but electioneering,you never make announcements until you have a deal.

    Also,considering we are already in deficit as a province, we are going to finance a billion dollars for an Australian hedge fund?

    If you read the story it is filled woth holes.

    “a deal in priciple” or this one “tolls will be about 3.00$ on opening day” or this one “the Macquarie can raise tolls each year but the province still is in charge of tolls” or this “it will create “8000 thousand jobs” are we using teams of men with horses and ropes,huge exaggeration.

    You can guarantee there will never be efficient transit put on this bridge,what toll company would help get rid of customers.

    Last item 3.00$ each wat is about 1800.00 per year,per driver—5.00$ each way works out to about 2880.00 per year–not exactly cheap,and you are right about…….

    There is no guarantee that you will get to work any faster,one snowflake,one accident,one police incident.

    I personaly think the project will be scrapped,right after the election. It smells like a photo-op.

    One more item,if we suddenly have money for the ever
    green line,why is the consruction not schedualed to start until 2011…Last spring Falcon stated construction would start late 2008/ then is was moved to 2009/ then it was slated for a 2010 construction start,now 2011…..I wouldn`t believe a word out of Falcon`s or Campbell`s mouth!

    Grant G

    January 28, 2009 at 11:35 pm

  2. I was thinking about the claim(lol) about 8000 full time jobs.

    Considering they would be journeyman trades persons,union workers, 8000 employees for 3 years,total cost for each employee, crane operators,welders,carpenters,laboures,machine operators,truck drivers,management,foremen,supervisors,asseyers,etc etc etc

    Break down the wage average,including,EI/Canada pension,WCB premiums,you probably would average at least 80.000.00 per year per employee,maybe more,maybe 100.000.00 Gross per year.

    Times those figures by 3 years and……well,the total for wages would run somewhere between 1.8 billion to 2.4 billion dollars over 3 years.

    Now add executuve pay,fuels,equipment,asphalt,steel,truck and crane costs,pile drivers,divers etc etc etc

    Well if the overall cost is supposed to be 2.3 billion dollars for a finished bridge

    I hate to bore you all with numbers,I just like proving Kevin Falcon to be always completly dishonest.

    Grant G

    January 29, 2009 at 12:25 am

  3. We all knew this was going to happen, we all know that the new bridge is one of the main planks in Campbell’s reelection bid. Campbell will sell out the province in order to win in May and by choosing the Maquarie group.

    Campbell and Falcon will probably use some trick learned from the phony RAV/Canada Line P-3 as well and all I can say is god help the taxpayer.

    D. M. Johnston

    January 29, 2009 at 6:53 am

  4. This is certainly a curious P-3 as the “The Province of BC will act as banker to the group of developers who want to twin the Port Mann Bridge.

    Victoria will lend the consortium of developers a third of the money needed to twin the bridge and widen part of Highway 1.”

    Certainly this is how the RAV/Canada line scam worked. Banks would not fund the lemon so the province hires out the money and prays to god nothing goes wrong.

    In a true P-3, the consortium building the projects hires money from independent banks to fund the project. If the banks say that the projects is not fundable > no loan > no project.

    Not so in BC, where Campbell & Co. act as bankers, leaving the taxpayer with the risk – not the developer! If the developer runs into problems he can walk away with no financial penalty, leaving the province to bear the brunt of the default!

    In BC P-3 means publicly procured ponzi scheme.

    D. M. Johnston

    January 29, 2009 at 11:38 am

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