Coquitlam mayor stakes reputation on Evergreen Line

In the face of financial boondoggles like the Olympic Village possibly leaving Vancouver taxpayers on the hook for $875 million, Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart is wholly confident that the Evergreen Line will soon break ground.

“This is the one that is going ahead next and I have no hesitation in staking my reputation,” Stewart told the Straight in a telephone interview. “This one will be next, the funding will be in place this spring, and we are working on it right now.”

Upon completion, the proposed $1.4-billion Evergreen Line would connect Burnaby’s Lougheed Town Centre with Coquitlam Town Centre via Port Moody by 2014.

Stewart said that Metro Vancouver residents should not worry about funding problems like those that the Olympic Village has encountered. “They are completely different styles of projects,” he explained.

According to Stewart, unlike the Olympic Village, the sort of private funding that the Evergreen Line is relying on is not tied to real estate, but is instead a “private business arrangement” related to future operating revenues.

“Those revenues are very predictable; they don’t fluctuate with economic times,” he said.

“There are going to be some that will take, perhaps a political position that is more negative,” Stewart continued. “I have no interest in a political position at this point.”

In November, Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini expressed fears that the global financial crunch could put funding for the Evergreen Line at risk.

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 told the Straight.

Stewart remained unshaken. “I am looking forward to standing there with a shovel and breaking ground on a project that we have waited 20 years for,” he 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, previously told the Straight that the federal government has since earmarked an additional $350 million for the line.


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Comments

1 Comments

Grumpy

Jan 11, 2009 at 10:59am

Trying not to be a bore, but the financial case for the Evergreen Line is nonexistent. First, SkyTrain is a metro and a metro costs up to 10 times more to build than LRT - no reputable financial organization would put a penny towards RAV. Secondly, there isn't the ridership (15,000 persons per hour per direction) to justify construction.

As Gerald Fox, a well respected transit specialist said "The Evergreen Line Report made me curious as to how TransLink could justify continuing to expand SkyTrain, when the rest
of the world is building LRT. So I went back and read the alleged "Business Case" (BC) report in a little more detail.
I found several instances where the analysis had made assumptions that were inaccurate, or had been manipulated to make
the case for SkyTrain. If the underlying assumptions are inaccurate, the conclusions may be so too.

Fox concludes, "It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning
method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor
after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its
proprietary rail system expanding. In the US, all new transit
projects that seek federal support are now subjected to
scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored
by the federal government, to ensure that projects are
analyzed honestly, and the taxpayers' interests are protected.
No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US."

Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart, is backing a project that is akin to Bre-X and shows he hasn't a clue what he is talking about.

No bank would ever finance a metro line without a guarantee of high ridership; the Evergreen Line hasn't a hope of generating the ridership needed to justify a real P-3 and funding the Evergreen Line is nothing more than a high end ponzi scheme, just like the RAV/Canada Line.

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