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Archive for March 4th, 2010

Province pushes Evergreen Line ‘aggressively’

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Vancouver Sun

No it doesn’t. There is absolutely nothing new in this story at all. It is simply a rehearsal of what the current provincial administration has been saying all along.

Transportation Minister Shirley Bond said Tuesday the province expects to start construction on the line linking Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam by early 2011 and have it running by late 2014.

There’s a reference to the use of transit during the previous couple of weeks, but given that those conditions (street closures and a lot more transit service than usual) are not going to be seen from now on, it is not a relevant concern to 2014.

But, she added: “We’re still expecting the region to pay its fair share of this project.”

In other words, there is still a gap that Bond wants filled by property tax – which she knows the Mayors will not go for.

Bond said she is reviewing the comptroller-general’s report on TransLink and expects to find some wriggle room around the governance of the transportation authority. She said that will “shape” how the funding is provided.

Which I see as a not very veiled signal that if necessary the Province will force the funding of the project through over the opposition of the Mayors. This government now feels very secure, can summon a legislative majority if needs be, and is not prepared to listen to anyone who dares to disagree with them.

At the same time the provincial budget concentrates on more road building. The only transit project is the Surrey Rapid Bus – which again is not exactly news. And the huge amounts of money that were added to the debt in recent years – and are planned to be added in the next three years – shows that the BC Liberals are far from reluctant to find money for projects they really care about. And they are still determined to press ahead with gating SkyTrain even though it is quite clear that will be a complete waste of money and can never pay for itself.

Moreover, despite the on going slump in container imports, and the serious prospect of continuing economic recession in the US, the South Fraser Perimeter Road construction will also go ahead. The whole of the Gateway project ought, of course, be subject to a serious rethink, given the changed circumstances – but the Liberals are committed to business as usual. All the rest of the declared intention to tackle global warming is simply greenwash.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 4, 2010 at 8:39 am

Posted in transit

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