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Beware of premiers bearing bridges
At first glance, the Premier Christy Clark's announcement for a new bridge across the Fraser looks good but when one studies the offer of a new bridge a lot of disturbing questions surface.
The Massey Tunnel does not need to be replaced, as it just had a large and expensive seismic upgrade, in fact one could lay another tube next to the tunnel to expand vehicle and transit capacity at a much lower cost.
It seems that lobbyists for Port Authority have convinced the Premier to get rid of the tunnel so they can deepen the river to allow massive bulk carriers to reach Surrey docks to load coal and oil; but wasn't the Robert's Bank Superport created, so massive bulk carriers did not need to travel up the Fraser, saving time, large pilotage fees and the taxpayer not needing to pay for regular comprehensive dredging?
What about the the extra traffic the ten lane bridge will dump into Richmond? The tunnel, having only four lanes, provided passive traffic calming, regulating the flow of traffic. All the new bridge will do is move gridlock to the next choke points, the Knight and Oak Street Bridges.
There is no mention of easing congestion on the lonely Queensborough bridge, which is older than the Massey tunnel and is at capacity almost all day. Unless there is a new bridge to Vancouver, gridlock will be endemic on the 99 & 91 highways in Richmond and New Westminster.
The proposed bridge makes a farce with improving transit South of the river as the Liberal government is investing in "rubber on asphalt" with single occupancy cars, leaving transit mainly for the poor, the elderly, and students.
The $2.5-billion Canada Line is shown the white elephant it is; too expensive to expand and extend, with ridership coming mainly from bus customers forced to transfer to the mini-metro. It would cheaper to build a Vancouver to Steveston and Ironwood Mall LRT, that extend the Canada Line.
The hypocrisy associated with the proposed bridge knows no bounds, with many mayors wanting a referendum for the proposed bridge, yet decrying one for TransLink funding, but on the whole stating referendums are not really democratic. What are regional mayors and the Premier afraid of, an outbreak of true democracy?
The timing of the the proposed bridge is so designed to give leverage to the South Delta Liberal candidate in the 2017 election.
The proposed crossing, which will be tolled, is all about pleasing political friends, winning elections, and leaving legacies, not improving traffic flows or improving regional transit.