Premier Gordon Campbell defends Gateway Program

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      Premier Gordon Campbell believes the provincial Gateway Program will result in a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions across the region.

      The premier made that comment in an interview on April 6 at the offices of the Georgia Straight, where the controversial program was one of the main topics discussed.

      "I understand that some people will disagree with it," Campbell said of Gateway. "But it’s many, many things that are happening at once to make the region more livable, to reduce our impact and our greenhouse-gas impact, and to invest in public transit. And I think that when you take all those things together—as we move to California tailpipe emissions and those other initiatives—I think you will see actually a reduction in greenhouse gases."

      The Straight asked for confirmation that Campbell meant Gateway as currently on the books would reduce greenhouse gases. Ministry of Transportation documents filed with the Environmental Assessment Office in 2006, and updated in 2007, predict that 176,000 tons of greenhouse gases will be added in the Lower Fraser Valley annually until 2021 as a result of Gateway.

      "Well, you’ll have to define what you mean by the Gateway program," Campbell responded, before giving his definition. "I define the Gateway project as public-transit initiatives and as goods-movement initiatives. I define the Gateway project, frankly, as transportation to invite people from the rest of the world here. I define the Gateway project as port initiatives. I define the Gateway project as being a sustainable long-term economic strategy that says, ”˜Yes, we are going to reduce our greenhouse gases within that context. Yes, we’re going to have economic activity. Yes, we’re going to have jobs.’ And that’s going to happen across the region and across the province."

      In a column that appeared on Straight.com on March 10, Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. director Maureen Bader criticized the cost of the Port Mann Bridge supersizing project—a major Gateway plank—as experiencing "scope creep". Bader wrote that the cost was initially $600 million, in 2004, and "ballooned" to $1.5 billion in 2006 when the span was to be twinned. Now the twinning has been scrapped in favour of replacing the existing bridge with a superstructure. Bader noted that the cost is now around $3.3 billion.

      "As we embark on what may be yet another boondoggle, we should stop for a moment and ask why almost every government subjects taxpayers to their very own fast-ferry fiasco," Bader wrote.

      In response to the "boondoggle" accusation, Campbell said: "I have no idea what she means by that."

      The premier claimed the new bridge upgrade will provide taxpayers with "good value", adding that it will "reestablish a transit line for the first time in 20 years".

      "I think it was a competitive bid and a well-done bid, and I think it’s going to be a great project."

      The Straight asked where else in the world opening up more road space has resulted in reduced greenhouse gases. (Campbell has promised to cut B.C.’s total emissions 33 percent by 2020.)

      "If it was only expanding road capacity, I think that would be a legitimate question," Campbell said. "First of all, it’s expanding transit capacity for the first time in 20 years, as I said."

      Citizens still not satisfied with the premier’s analysis have a chance to vent this Saturday (April 11) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in what has been billed a Highway 1 Day of Action from Eagleridge Bluffs to Chilliwack. Rail for the Valley and Gatewaysucks.org are organizing the event, which will see citizens display banners from overpasses over the entire route.

      What is the Gateway Program?

      > Replacement of the existing Port Mann Bridge with a 10-lane bridge and providing a restoration of transit across the Fraser River

      > Widening Highway 1 from McGill Street in Vancouver to 216th Street in Langley

      > Construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, a four-lane road from Deltaport Way to the proposed Golden Ears Bridge

      > Construction of the North Fraser Perimeter Road, which comprises improvements to existing roads, a stand-alone project to replace the Pitt River Bridge, and the building of an interchange replacing the Mary Hill Bypass and the Lougheed intersection

      Source: www.gatewayprogram.bc.ca


      Watch Georgia Straight reporter Matthew Burrows's April 6, 2009, interview with B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell about the Gateway program. Video by Shadi Elien for the Georgia Straight.

      Comments

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      13 Comments

      Grumpy

      Apr 9, 2009 at 8:08am

      Gateway is a 'yesterdays' transportation plan, defended by people locked into the 1950's mind set of "the car is the way of the future."

      In 2014,the same time Gateway will come on stream, the widened Panama Canal will open and container traffic through the Super Port will decline greatly, negating the need for the South Perimeter Road.

      The twinned Port Mann Bridge P-3 is a 'charade', just like the RAV/Canada Line P-3 was a charade and will cost the taxpayer huge sums of money to increase congestion and gridlock.

      Like the Lions Gate Bridge, The Port Mann traffic calms Vancouver and Burnaby and massive sums of money will be spent increasing road capacity in these two cities, including a new highway into Vancouver!

      This nonsense that a new Port Mann Bridge will; "providing a restoration of transit across the Fraser River", is tiresome. The reason buses don't cross the Port Mann is strictly a TransLink operational policy - All buses in Surrey must terminate at a SkyTrain Station in Surrey and force feed people onto the metro - and I see no reason why it would change with a new bridge.

      Seems our good Premier is ignorant of Translink's policies!

      This is the same policy that will force all South Fraser bus routes in Surrey, Delta, and Richmond to force feed RAV at 'Casino Junction', in Richmond.

      What is Gateway? A Liberal vehicle to legally funnel taxpayers' money to favoured companies, who donate generously to the Liberal party, by over building and gold-plating road and bridge projects. Campbell and Co. are masters of that and with a compliant mainstream media, no questions are asked.

      The sad fact is, for the same amount of money spent on Gateway, we could build that 300 km. LRT network that would provide an attractive alternative to the car.

      steaky

      Apr 9, 2009 at 10:44am

      'fast ferry' comparisons are a joke. That project was over budget and delivered something that did not work what so ever. A bridge is now that? Twin the bridge, sure it saves money but the existing bridge is aging and will need replacement at some point not too far away.

      Grumpy, I wonder how goods and service providers will transport themselves and their goods on LRT. LRT to low density areas is a waste more than anything.

      GVRD's road network is sub par. Taxes can be used to incent people to not drive and looking at transit instead.

      edoherty

      Apr 9, 2009 at 10:58am

      Campbell is still repeating Falcon's lie that a new bridge is needed to get buses across the Port Mann. Most major bridges and tunnels (such as the Massey Tunnel) have queue jumper lanes that work just fine. See video at

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      If Gateway is a good project, why is it necessary to tell so many lies while promoting it?

      Grumpy

      Apr 9, 2009 at 11:50am

      Quotes from Strakey:

      "I wonder how goods and service providers will transport themselves and their goods on LRT....."

      Funny, there are plenty of roads and highways to carry goods and services in the region and in Europe some LRT systems carry containers on specially built trams. The main reason why LRT is built and operated, is to attract the motorist from the car, something that TransLink can't seem to do, even spending billions on SkyTrain light-metro, in trying to do so.

      "LRT to low density areas is a waste more than anything."

      Another illogical statement as density has very little to do with transit ridership. Just what density is needed to justify light rail operation? Don't know? You are in good company because no one knows. It is just a another SkyTrain lobby man of straw argument to deflect real debate for light rail.

      As for RapidBus, where has it worked? Where has it been successful?

      No answer? I thought so.

      plg

      Apr 9, 2009 at 12:43pm

      First off, we shouldn't be using public money to build infrastructure for the commercial transportation of imported goods through our ports. The Port Authority in Vancouver should implement a surcharge on all containers arriving in the region like L.A. did to pay for their commercial transportation, rail and roads, infrastructure.

      Another problem with all of this is the placement of the rail intermodal yards, one in Pitt Meadows and the other on the east end of the Port Mann and Patullo Bridges. Both locations require Vancouver, Fraser and Roberts Banks ports containers to be transported over bridges and tunnels.

      Another way of resolving the bottlenecks for commercial road transportation is what other major cities in the US do after the realizing the heavy cost of constructing more infrastructure: they restrict commercial traffic on arterial roadways and highways into their city during the peak periods.

      Rapid bus would work in the region. Without the frills, this intermediate transit option is by far the most successful when planned into residential and commercial zoning. The costs can be a tenth of the cost of LRT or ALRT if one was to take the transit agencies and streetscapers goofy ideas out of the equation.

      Both B-Line services brought thousands of new transit users to the system here in the region.

      If one would have rather put the public investment of the so-called Canada Line or the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver (RAV) Line into purchasing buses we would have been able to provide a B-Line service to every major arterial roadway in the region and we would have had more than enough money left over to increase the community bus network to deliver transit users from their place of residence and work/school to the B-Line services. Another way to improve efficiencies is to guarantee the curb lanes to the buses during peak hours as well as allow the buses preferred access to traffic controlled intersections. These are not new ideas, they have been in place since the late 70's in the bay area of San Francisco. Some of these same ideas took over 20 years to arrive in Vancouver. Why?

      The fetish for rail has gotten out of control and has meant that real transit initiatives that serves the unfortunate sprawl of the region have not been made.

      Get ready for more taxes for more rail.

      By the way, while the RAV, Expo and Millenium Lines may appear full, the real, not guesstimate, boardings on these rail lines represent only 2% of the entire population going to work or school during the peak hours. After $5 billion in public transit infrastructure spending one would expect much greater returns and one would have to wonder whether any private sector transportation company would even entertain this type of investment.

      However, politicians and the serfs who facilitate their poor public policies see public money as free money.

      Mr. enviro

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:49pm

      Who would believe anything that our AUTOCRATIC Premier Gordon Campbell has to say????????

      If you do then you have been successfully brainwashed with his hypocritical and cabalistic propoganda.!

      do not vote for the liberals in the upcoming election.

      Grumpy

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:59pm

      Wrong, wrong, wrong!

      Quote: "Rapid bus would work in the region. Without the frills, this intermediate transit option is by far the most successful when planned into residential and commercial zoning. The costs can be a tenth of the cost of LRT or ALRT if one was to take the transit agencies and streetscapers goofy ideas out of the equation."

      RapidBus has failed miserably to achieve what its proponents predicted and like its unhappy cousin GuidedBus, has failed to attract much new ridership. In Ottawa saw a significant decline in ridership, over 15% in the first 10 years of operation! RapidBus ends up cost almost the same as light rail, without any of the benefits.

      Quote: " Both B-Line services brought thousands of new transit users to the system here in the region."

      Untrue, the B-Line buses have not attracted much new ridership, in fact TransLink can't show any significant movement from car to bus, with the B-Line. The Richmond B-Line buses saw a reduction of ridership, as much as 30% of ridership abandoned the buses because of awkward and forced transfers!

      A bus, is a bus, is a bus and buses just do not attract the all important motorist from the car.

      Quote: "The fetish for rail has gotten out of control and has meant that real transit .........."

      This fetish for LRT is real because it is the only mode to date that has a proven record in attracting the motorist from the car, that's why over 150 new LRT lines have been built in the past 25 years.

      There is a mistake lumping LRT in with metro (SkyTrain) and fundamental errors have been made. Modern LRT is in fact the most successful public transit tool around and is extremely successful in alleviating congestion and gridlock in urban areas, something that SkyTrain and RapidBus have not done.

      badfreeway

      Apr 9, 2009 at 10:15pm

      I wonder if Mr. Campbell has seen what Gateway would do to Surrey's last wilderness and newest residents?

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      racc

      Apr 11, 2009 at 2:38pm

      Not particularly surprising that the province is building roads since all some transit advocates seem to like to do is endlessly argue over what mode is the best and trash all other modes. Each mode has its place and needs to be examined on a case by case basis.