Agreement in Principle on Port Mann Project
Kevin Falcon’s on again, off again announcement turns out to be a bit of damp squib. Given that there is only one bidder – and that it is in deep financial trouble – the famed P3 that was going to pay for it all has now been turned into a 1/3 – 2/3 split – with the taxpayers fronting one third of the funds. Somehow all the costs – which have ballooned since the idea was dreamed up – are still going to be paid back at $3 a car. Note too that it’s title has been shortened. Because the freeway expansion that goes with the bridge twinning and ensures that the traffic congestion we have now will be twice as bad in future is not being given much prominence.
By the way, only the traffic that crosses the bridge pays the toll. All the other freeway trips will be free
And finally the release states
“The Port Mann / Highway 1 project will reduce congestion and travel time, improve safety and accessibility, and allow buses to travel over the Port Mann Bridge for the first time in over two decades. It will save valuable time for truckers, expand lanes for HOV, cyclists and pedestrians, and will also accommodate potential future light rapid transit.”
Normally you expect statements like this to have some foundation in reality. Not one of these statements has any foundation in fact. But then that is the first principle of propaganda – lie and make the lies grandiose. Big lies – repeated often enough – will be accepted as truth.
The reason the consortium cannot raise money is not that they are asking for too much. It is because the financial markets have been burned rather a lot lately – and therefore they are not keen to get burned again. Real questions remain about the viability of this project – and Kevin Falcon has no answers. So in the current spirit of bailing out the biggest losers (banks, automobile makers) Falcon is just throwing money at the problem. Our money.
And, of course, we are still a couple of months away from the recently extended deadline.
It looks even less like a Done Deal to me