Two issues that don’t often get into same story:
While TransLink asks the public about its plan to selectively cut bus service on some routes, the province is launching its own consultations – on the premier’s recent promise to replace the George Massey Tunnel. …
The existing tunnel has 10 to 15 years of useful life left before major components must be completely replaced, Transportation Minister Mary Polak said.
And since it takes about a decade to plan and build such a project, preliminary work must start now.
“One thing is very clear to us – the status quo is not an option,” Polak said. …
TransLink, meanwhile, is consulting on its plans to further “optimize” service by cutting frequency at some times on some routes in order to boost it on others, where it believes it can serve more riders and pull in more revenue. …
Transit advocates, who see the two decisions as clashing transportation priorities, say it’s ironic TransLink riders in some areas will soon see less service while planning begins for a costly new bridge or tunnel mega-project on Highway 99.
Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, questions the underlying logic.
He says road and bridge projects are routinely justified by politicians on the basis they save motorists time and therefore money by relieving congestion.
Yet the same calculation isn’t applied to transit service cuts that leave passengers waiting longer, arguably costing them and the economy money.
“Time is treated completely differently,” he said, adding transit delays should also be counted as a cost, and not just as a way of saving money.
Peter Ladner, part of the Get On Board coalition for transit funding, also calls it a funding double standard that puts road work ahead of transit.
“Where’s the consultation on sustainable funding for transit?” he asked. “Surely that has to come first.”
So the “status quo is not an option” because the tunnel, opened in 1959, is at the end of its useful life.
By contrast, here is the CN rail bridge over the Fraser at New Westminster – opened in 1904, a critical link to the south, unable to handle the demand, an impediment to high-speed rail, of unquestioned economic importance, and for which the status quo is very much an option.