“No Gateway Bailout” protest at office of struggling project financier
WHAT: Concerned citizens from throughout the Lower Mainland, including representatives of the Wilderness Committee and the Livable Region Coalition are staging a creative protest against the federal-provincial Gateway Project. They will be distributing special “Bailout Bucks” with information about the current state of the controversial Gateway bridge and highway building project, and calling on Premier Campbell, Prime Minister Harper and potential investors to Cancel Gateway, create Green Jobs, and invest in More Transit Now.
WHEN: this Thursday, January 22 from Noon to 1 PM
WHERE: outside the Bentall 5 Centre at 550 Burrard St. (corner of Dunsmuir) which is where the offices of Macquarie Bank (financiers of the Port Mann Highway 1 expansion component of the Gateway Project) are located.
“Back in September, 2004, BC’s Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon first announced a price tag for the twinning the Port Mann Bridge of $800 Million. The most recent numbers, as quoted in Project Finance Magazine, was $2.3 Billion, almost triple the original estimate,” said Ben West, Healthy Communities Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.
Now, Macquarie Bank, one of the Gateway project’s financiers, has failed to meet a January 8th deadline for signing off on the project’s financing. It has been reported that Macquarie is struggling to raise the $2 Billion it would need up front due to the global financial crisis. The federal government will table a budget on January 27th that may pass the bill for the full cost of the Gateway project onto taxpayers.
“Now that we know the Macquarie Bank couldn’t raise the funds for the Gateway Project we want to make it clear that we don’t want our tax dollars spent on building what has been called the Gateway to Global Warming,” said David Field of the Livable Region Coalition.
“Any price for the Gateway Project is too high but this is ridiculous,” said Fields. “The twin meltdowns of the economy and our climate have shown us that old planning, like twinning the Port Mann Bridge, freeway expansion and the rest of the Gateway Project, no longer serve the public interest. We have a chance to stabilize our economy and our climate by investing in clean, green jobs and smart projects like reliable and affordable public transit.”
“It’s in the interests of all Canadians that the federal and provincial governments don’t try to use yesterday’s solutions for tomorrow’s problems. We need green budgets, not bail-outs of wasteful and dangerous boondoggles like the Gateway Project,” said West.