An April 5, 2017 column by The Vancouver Sun’s political columnist, Vaughn Palmer, described how the B.C. government’s pre-construction / pre-election photo-op for the $3.5 billion Massey Bridge project was hijacked by a group protesting the mega-project. TABC Member Stephen Rees penned a letter to the paper responding to Palmer’s column.

Stephen’s letter follows:

“Vaughn Palmer’s characterization of the protest at the tunnel ceremony is not accurate. There are real alternatives to the $3.5bn vanity project that have not been adequately examined.

The real problem is congestion at peak periods. Traffic through the tunnel has actually been in steady decline for the last ten years. However, the Port of Vancouver operates the container terminal on bankers’ hours. Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. No other port operates like that. It ensures that truck traffic uses the tunnel at peak periods, and makes the congestion worse. That is deliberate. It helps the port make the case for tunnel removal. There are plenty of records available that demonstrate the Port’s long term strategy for deepening the dredging of the channel – and the tunnel prevents that. In the short term, simply banning trucks at peak periods – and opening the container collection and delivery facilities 24/7 – will relieve the present problem. 

In the longer term, congestion can never be solved by widening roads. Never has done, never will do. All that does is move the line-up to somewhere else. The only way to reduce car traffic is increase transit service. One bus can carry many more people in 40’ of road than cars can. The province has already invested in bus lanes both sides of the tunnel but service needs to be increased. And when that isn’t enough, add another tube on the river bed carrying light rail. 

As for the claim that the “full freight will be covered by tolls”, it has not worked for the Port Mann or the Golden Ears. Why would the Massey replacement be any different?”

The bridge’s financial model is now even more dependent on taxpayer subsidisation as both major political parties have announced policies (April 9, 2017) to reduce tolls collected on Lower Mainland bridges. The Liberals will cap annual tolls at $500 and the NDP will eliminate tolls altogether. No word from either party if transit “tolls” will also be capped or eliminated.

Stephen’s blog at https://stephenrees.wordpress.com/ contains a wealth of additional information debunking much of the government’s claims about the bridge,

 


Source: TABC