Port Moody’s mayor says a billion-dollar transit project is at risk because of the global financial crunch. Joe Trasolini told the Straight in a phone interview that he fears economic conditions will create a lot of competition for federal money, which could spell trouble for the proposed $1.4-billion Evergreen Line. The line would connect Burnaby’s Lougheed Town Centre with Coquitlam Town Centre via Port Moody by 2014.
“The rest of Canada will be lining up for projects to be done, and I’m afraid that if we wait until after the Olympics, the money will be gone,” Trasolini said.
The B.C. government has committed $410 million to the project, TransLink agreed to spend $400 million, and the federal government has provided $67 million, according to a April 18 TransLink news release. Dave Crebo, spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the federal government has since earmarked an additional $350 million for the line.
If all that money comes through, the project will still be roughly $170 million short. “Right now, preliminary engineering work is under way, and construction is still expected to begin in about two years,” Crebo said.
But Trasolini is not convinced. “If we don’t get the funding in place and get everything under way within the next six months to a year, then I fear for the project,” he said.
Trasolini added that he is planning to convene a meeting of mayors from the northeast sector in January to push to have the Evergreen Line’s construction begin before the Olympics.
Coquitlam mayor-elect Richard Stewart, a former B.C. Liberal MLA, told the Straight that he is “certainly willing to discuss” the idea of moving the start of construction to an earlier date, but he emphasized the need for cooperation with the provincial government.