In an op-ed in The Sun, Keith Sashaw, the president and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of BC, explains why the status quo (is) not an option for (the) George Massey Tunnel.
There are three characteristics of columns like these:
(1) “Transportation infrastructure is important.” It’s what you’d expect from the representative of those who build transportation infrastructure – and he’s correct.
(2) It’s not just about vehicles. “There are also tremendous opportunities to improve transit as well as pedestrian and cyclist mobility.” Those who build big roads always mention how good it would be for transit. They never mention that transit would not be funded as part of the project.
(3) Thirdly – and this is really the most important thing – it promotes the Next Big Project.
… any additional capacity on the South Arm should be undertaken with consideration to dealing with additional crossings on the North Arm of the Fraser River. (There is) considerable interest in keeping the existing tunnel and twinning it with a new bridge.
It was suggested that the existing tunnel could be a core-collector/distributor system distributing local traffic, and the new bridge could then be the core system for longer distance travel. This would require an additional North Arm crossing at either Knight Street or at Boundary, especially if a new bridge was linked to Number 8 Road. (Right, click to enlarge. Map here.)
Motordom must be fed. The world’s biggest industries – energy, vehicle manufacturing, road building – need a constant infusion of multi-billion-dollar projects to literally keep the wheels rolling. And it needs to have them in the pipeline years before the current projects are finished.
… it is clear that we do need to discuss all options and start planning now if we are to address efficient transportation in BC. ACEC-BC and our member firms are here to engage in this discussion.
But by the time the debate starts on whether we really need or can afford another major piece of Motordom, it’s already been green-lighted and budgeted by the senior decision-makers. Jobs and the economy, it will be said, require it. And if your economy is based on the assumptions of Motordom, well, that’s correct too.