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Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 2:44 PM
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Pacific Gateway Phase II

Ignore Vaughn Palmer's negative spin on the subject matter.

Quote:
Premier pushes transportation plan

Pacific Gateway 'phase two' could help push provincial debt to $60 billion

By Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun October 15, 2010



Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Pre...#ixzz12X5YoWPV


The B.C. Liberals are having to pull together the details of an updated multibillion-dollar transportation plan, following Premier Gordon Campbell's recent promise of a "phase two" in his ambitious Pacific Gateway initiative.

"We've done this before," the premier told local government leaders during his speech to the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities earlier this month. "In 2002 I spoke to you and laid out a plan to open up B.C. to the Pacific ... We set the foundation, but it is no time to stop ... We are looking at phase two."

Campbell went on to recall some elements of the first phase, including the Canada Line rapid transit service in Vancouver and Richmond, the container port in Prince Rupert, and upgrades to the Trans-Canada Highway, the Sea to Sky, and the main route through the Okanagan.

The rambling, hour-long address proceeded with passing references to the next phase, though Campbell neglected to specify where he was recycling and where he was expanding on earlier announcements.

For the umpteenth time, he promised the start of construction of the Evergreen Line through northeast Metro Vancouver was imminent, despite a $400-million gap in the project budget. Then came a brief discussion of next-phase transit expansions for Metro Vancouver and environs.

"It's time to get started doing the SkyTrain to Langley City. It's time to get ready to build a rapid bus from Langley to Chilliwack. It's time to build rapid transit to UBC."

Deconstructing that passage, rapid transit to the University of B.C. was part of the transit plan announced in early 2008. But the plan to run SkyTrain all the way out to Langley City goes beyond the earlier commitment to extend the existing Surrey line to Guildford. Nor was the Langley-to-Chilliwack extension included in the first phase expansion of rapid bus services.

Mindful of the presence of mayors and councillors from every corner of B.C., Campbell tipped his hat to some of them as well.

"We need to expand a rapid bus from Kelowna to West Kelowna. We need to get the rapid bus launched in the Capital Regional District, and we're going to significantly expand public transit options in other regional centres like Prince George and Kamloops and Nanaimo and Courtenay-Comox."

For those places where the bus is no answer, Campbell had this to say: "The transportation system is not just transit. We're going to fast-track the Cariboo Connector and expedite major improvements on Highway 97, Highway 3, Highway 16 and the Trans-Canada Highway."

The Cariboo Connector, meaning the projected widening of Highway 97 between Prince George and Cache Creek, is already under construction. But the current schedule, which involves finishing about 10 per cent of the project over five years, would not constitute fast-tracking in anyone's book.

The government has undertaken extensive work on those other routes as well, most notably the expensive straightening of the Trans-Canada through Kicking Horse Canyon. But from Campbell's admittedly sketchy reference, it would appear that the government is preparing to ramp up construction to a new level.

Details will presumably be ready for the premier's televised address on the provincial economy, scheduled for Oct. 27. Based on what he has said so far, the second phase of his transportation plan will run to billions of dollars.

Rapid transit to UBC, which includes tunnelling west along Broadway from the existing Millennium Line as far as Arbutus at least, was priced at almost $3 billion in 2008 dollars. The Campbell government estimated $1.1 billion for the six-kilometre SkyTrain extension to Guildford; going as far as Langley City could raise the price tag to $3 billion. The first phase of the rapid bus was pegged at $1.2 billion, so presumably that tab would be going up as well.

The Cariboo Connector comes with an all-in cost of $2 billion, again in current dollars. The still-to-be-completed Kicking Horse Canyon phase of the Trans-Canada upgrade is already priced at $1 billion. The government has spent and committed almost $1 billion worth of roadwork in the Okanagan Corridor with more, apparently, on the way.

Paying for it? Campbell said he was looking for partners, including Ottawa, local government and private developers to help shoulder the cost. But he acknowledged that the province will be going into hock as well.

"The cost of borrowing is not going to get cheaper than it is today," he told the UBCM. "The skilled labour available is not going to be more available in the future than it is today. And waiting won't save us a penny. It only costs us time, money and benefits to the families, communities and our environment."

Interesting contrast to what he said in the 2002 speech. Back then he boasted about his commitment to "financial discipline," balanced budgets and a cautionary approach to borrowing, then capped at about $40 billion by his reckoning.

Amid today's revisionist attitudes toward red ink, the provincial debt is already on track to top $50 billion in the next year.

And with Campbell indicating we shouldn't wait to borrow more, the debt could be well on its way to $60 billion before his term is over.

vpalmer@vancouversun.com

Read Vaughn Palmer's blog at vancouversun . com/PALMER
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Pre...517/story.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 3:00 PM
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Normally I'm a staunch supporter of government fiscal responsibility, but with Canadian 10 year notes going for 3.25% right now and the economic recovery stagnating its almost irresponsible not to push these infrastructure projects forward.

I dont know about Gordo's claims about the availability of skilled labour, but I still think the scenario will not get much more advantageous for infrastructure projects than it is right now.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 3:35 PM
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 4:22 PM
Millennium2002 Millennium2002 is offline
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Great... another dilemma... if the debt is that high I worry that it'll start jacking our taxes up to the point that my parents and I can't live where they are right now.

On the other hand, the transport systems here and elsewhere do need serious upgrades.

Bleh... I think the taxes will go up anyway. Ouch. ><
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 5:21 PM
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Stingray2004 Stingray2004 is offline
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Firstly, BC has a triple-A credit rating with Moody's, S&P, and DBRS. The only other Canadian jurisdictions in that league are Alberta and the Government of Canada. Our taxpayer supported debt to GDP ratio is the lowest in the country (after Alberta).

Secondly, with the massive Horn River/Montney natural gas fields coming on stream post-2012, the BC treasury should see a huge increase in royalty revenue.

In that context, I have no problem with ramping up capital spending on highway/transit. Infrastructure is an asset, an economic stimulator, and will enhance future economic growth.

I recall Campbell's UBCM speech whereby he hinted at future transportation investments without much specifics.

According to Palmer:
Quote:
Details will presumably be ready for the premier's televised address on the provincial economy, scheduled for Oct. 27. Based on what he has said so far, the second phase of his transportation plan will run to billions of dollars.
WAC Bennett was the master at blacktop politics.

Quote:
Campbell had this to say: "The transportation system is not just transit. We're going to fast-track the Cariboo Connector and expedite major improvements on Highway 97, Highway 3, Highway 16 and the Trans-Canada Highway."

The Cariboo Connector, meaning the projected widening of Highway 97 between Prince George and Cache Creek, is already under construction. But the current schedule, which involves finishing about 10 per cent of the project over five years, would not constitute fast-tracking in anyone's book.

The government has undertaken extensive work on those other routes as well, most notably the expensive straightening of the Trans-Canada through Kicking Horse Canyon. But from Campbell's admittedly sketchy reference, it would appear that the government is preparing to ramp up construction to a new level.

The Cariboo Connector comes with an all-in cost of $2 billion, again in current dollars. The still-to-be-completed Kicking Horse Canyon phase of the Trans-Canada upgrade is already priced at $1 billion. The government has spent and committed almost $1 billion worth of roadwork in the Okanagan Corridor with more, apparently, on the way.
At the rate the Cariboo Connector was being constructed, it would have taken a 40-year+ time frame for completion. Also, when you think about it, $1 billion in highway improvements already completed/committed in the Okanagan Corridor is a huge chunk of change.

Since we are decades behind in having high-standard intra/inter-provincial highways/expressways in BC, unlike other Canadian/North American jurisdictions, I say bring it on.
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2010, 5:21 PM
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I'd much rather be paying for infrastructure upgrades across the province than government subsidized daycare or other pie-in-the-sky social programs. Gordo might as well push this through, he is on borrowed time now. 9% approval rating? Yikes.
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  #7  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2010, 5:45 PM
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Since the Cariboo Connector will apparently also be part of Pacific Gateway II, here are a couple of pics of the Cariboo Connector both completed and u/c as a taste of what's going on up there right now:

New Red Rock commercial vehicle inspection station in median as part of twinning, which opened on Friday:



Source: BC MoT

Twinning construction south of Red Rock on September 11, 2010:



Source: Flickr/Huizen
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Old Posted Oct 19, 2010, 8:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awvan View Post
I'd much rather be paying for infrastructure upgrades across the province than government subsidized daycare or other pie-in-the-sky social programs. Gordo might as well push this through, he is on borrowed time now. 9% approval rating? Yikes.
I agree, these are the projects the government should be financing. These are what's desperately needed to ensure a healthy economy today and in the future.
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Old Posted Oct 19, 2010, 8:20 AM
eduardo88 eduardo88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingray2004 View Post
Since the Cariboo Connector will apparently also be part of Pacific Gateway II, here are a couple of pics of the Cariboo Connector both completed and u/c as a taste of what's going on up there right now:

New Red Rock commercial vehicle inspection station in median as part of twinning, which opened on Friday:



Source: BC MoT
Looks good. Just hope they replant some trees!
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Old Posted Oct 19, 2010, 6:00 PM
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In case people have forgotten the other thread:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=172856
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2010, 2:11 PM
Mininari Mininari is offline
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So, will the new Premier champion the Pacific Gateway Phase II?
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2018, 7:12 PM
ClaytonA ClaytonA is offline
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Not sure where to put this...

https://www.agassizharrisonobserver....rd-mayor-says/

Quote:
... “Unless someone puts this in a 10-year capital plan, it’s never going to happen.” ...
Lots of politicians throwing out ideas and ideas on here. Victoria E&N, Kelowna, Abbotsford, North Shore, highway projects, etc. Since the NDP like studies, a province-wide study for all transportation like the original Gateway could focus and prioritize these projects (and stimulate funding). I'd vote for a government that made a prioritized transportation project list public (i.e. transparency). It could be made plain/transparent that priority is determined multiple ways and that the list is subject to politicians' final decisions.

Expand on this list of three: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/t...cture/projects

(Yes the projects page is titled "Highway Infrastructure Projects".)

Categorize projects' priority. Link to Cost-Benefit studies and supporting documents, etc. as done with those three. Fill the void created by the last administration where the province was with the Gateway (balance it so it's not just highways) before versus seeming to make decisions surprising people as happened with the George Massey Tunnel. A vision/leadership isn't lurching from project to project. It's also less susceptible to corruption/political interference/cronyism/etc.



Nothing against the previous BC Liberal government post Gordon Campbell, but they were good at not spending that much money outside BC Hydro and lowering taxes, even borrowinng from Crown Corp's to lower taxes.
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