The replacement of the Massey Tunnel with a new bridge on Highway 99 between Delta and Richmond is expected to be one of the centrepiece projects of the new 10-year provincial transportation plan.

B.C. transportation plan steers clear of ferry, bridge toll complaints

Minister Todd Stone seeks public input ahead of release of new 10-year provincial transportation plan

Transportation Minister Todd Stone is calling for public input to help guide a new 10-year provincial transportation plan he aims to unveil by the end of January.

The public consultations for the plan – dubbed “B.C. On the Move” – include meetings across the province with communities and stakeholders, a Twitter town hall and a dedicated website at engage.gov.bc.ca/transportationplan.

Stone said he expects local priorities coming forward may include calls for secondary road improvements, more highway passing lanes or four-lane sections, as well as enhancements to local transit or cycling routes.

The ministry is accepting submissions until Dec. 12.

Survey questions to the public released by the ministry emphasize highway improvements and ask nothing about coastal ferry service or fares – the main source of criticism for Stone in recent months. The ministry will instead rely on previous public consultations in 2011 by the B.C. Ferry Commissioner to guide the ferries portion of the new plan.

Nor does the document ask the public if they’re willing to pay more tolls to finance new bridges in Metro Vancouver.

Stone previously promised a tolling policy review, in light of probable new tolls on replacements of the Pattullo Bridge and Massey Tunnel, and a call from Metro mayors for tolling reform to allow road pricing to fund TransLink.

Tolling inequity is already a major complaint among Surrey-area residents, who feel singled out by tolls on the province’s Port Mann Bridge and TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge.

Stone said he remains committed to review the policy, which allows tolls only on new infrastructure where there’s a reasonable untolled alternative, but couldn’t give a timeline.

The replacement of the Massey Tunnel between Delta and Richmond with a new bridge is already in the technical design phase and is expected to be one of the plan’s centrepiece projects, along with the Cariboo Connector four-laning of 440 kilometres of Highway 97 from Cache Creek to Prince George.

It’s also expected to explore options for a future second crossing of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna.

Stone said a successful referendum on new taxes for TransLink in Metro Vancouver next spring would result in the mayors’ transit expansion plans being added into the provincial plan.

A referendum defeat, he said, would leave “other investments” identified as priorities in the Lower Mainland to be pursued under the plan.

Stone said he’s working collaboratively with the mayors to help them adjust their financial assumptions and design the question so the referendum – to be held via mail-in ballot – has the “maximum chance of success.”

A discussion guide (see below) for the consultations notes the province needs to replace aging transportation infrastructure, while preparing for an extra million B.C. residents by 2025 as well as the effects of aging demographics, growing demand for public transit and increased pressure on rural roads from resource development.

As for how to pay for new infrastructure, the ministry document says the province would “explore different funding options” while also maximizing federal contributions and partnering with First Nations, local governments and the private sector

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena said the questions posed by the province are “exceedingly superficial” and fail to address B.C.’s biggest transportation problems.

BContheMove DiscussionGuide Web Oct 6 2014

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Coast Guard vessel open for second day of public tours on Alberni waterfront

Talk to marine scientists, learn about research equipment on CCGS Vector

Port Alberni walks for World Food Day

John Paul II Catholic School students walked to end world hunger

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land on Stamp Avenue for its expansion

Two Port Alberni cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Leaf Compassion and Cannabis Club ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read