The Federal government’s budget came down last week and it was called “Building a Strong Middle Class”. With that sentiment, the Federal Government provided 2.2 billion dollars for Greater Vancouver transportation projects including a Broadway subway, Surrey light rail and replacing the Pattullo Bridge. These are all part of the TransLink Mayors’ 10-year Greater Vancouver transportation plan.
Surprise! As reported in the Delta Optimist by Ian Jacques the Federal government didn’t provide any funding for the single-minded Provincial government support of the Massey Bridge, so the Province will have to pony up the $3.5 billion dollar estimated cost on their own.
The Province had one more salvo for Metro Vancouver mayors who have universally rued (except for the Mayor of Delta) the placement of this overbuilt Massey bridge in a location that will have dire ecological ramifications and is quite frankly in the wrong place for the region. The Province announced they will not be matching the Federal mass transit and transportation funding for Metro Vancouver. Nope. The cities still have to find a third of the funding.
Think about that-this is the Province that insisted on a Metro Vancouver referendum to fund transit despite the wishes of Metro Vancouver mayors. This was a 7.5 billion dollar plan, with one third each being provided by the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments IF voters accepted a 0.5 per cent infrastructure sales tax. That initiative was sounded defeated, with Transportation Minister Todd Stone victoriously concluding “We are very proud that we fulfilled our commitment to give the people of the region a voice”. At that time the Minister also stated “Doing nothing is simply not an option. The region is going to have to decide how it’s going to come up with its one-third of the cost.”
Is the funding missing for Metro Vancouver’s transit and transportation plan going towards the Massey Bridge? And where will the Province come up with the billions of dollars for the 2016 estimated cost of 3.5 billion dollars? Surely there is a less costly solution that could include mass transit and a smaller ecological footprint.