LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FLOOD: Rail for the Valley, & the new Port Mann bridge

by

To all supporters of passenger rail service for the Fraser Valley

Last Wednesday, the provincial government announced, out of the blue, an entirely new Port Mann bridge to be built. It will not be a twinned bridge, but a single 10-lane span, and the existing bridge will be torn down, only 45 years into its 75 year lifespan. There will be no light rail component on the bridge when it is forecast to be completed in 2013. The project’s estimated cost is $3.3 billion. (If recent megaprojects are any indication, this cost will likely rise substantially.)

Click here for the story from the Province.

Then, you might want to read these editorials by experts supporting Rail for the Valley:

Malcolm Johnston 1

Malcolm Johnston 2

Nathan Pachal

Stephen Rees

Government spin that the bridge is designed to accomodate light rail ‘sometime in the future’ is just that – spin. Another word is ‘deception.’ Never in history has this type of bridge been built, and then at a later date had lanes taken away to accomodate light rail.

It appears the BC government is trying to deceive the people of BC, who will likely be expected to pay the equivalent of about $1000 for every man, woman, and child in the province for this single project. (Every premier wants a legacy, I suppose.) While the Pattullo bridge and the Fraser River rail bridge are in true need of replacement, this project will leave the province bankrupt of money for these, and other, important and necessary improvements. Commuters are supposed to cheer the temporary relief of traffic congestion on the bridge, while the light rail needs of the Fraser Valley, and the united pleas of residents across the valley, are completely ignored.

Friends, we can not stand for this!

***What to do right now***

Immediately flood our newspapers with Letters to the editor, cc’ing your elected representatives and opposition candidates.

The government has got to hear the message, loud and clear, from the people of the Fraser Valley, before any contracts for this project are signed.

(Click here for newspaper email addresses)

There is also a facebook event that has been created for this flood

Please pass this on to others who might be interested.
More action to follow.
Thank you for doing your part…

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4 Responses to “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FLOOD: Rail for the Valley, & the new Port Mann bridge”

  1. David Says:

    I’d really like to see an explanation of how a bridge could rise in cost by 65% in only two and a half years. That’s an annual inflation rate of 22%.

    Hasn’t our federal government been telling us that inflation for the past few years has been in the 1.5-4.5% range?

    Of course we know that’s BS because food and fuel prices doubled last year, but the price of oil has lost almost all of its gains and labour costs have to be down considerably with all the skilled people out there begging for work.

    I simply can’t believe that any of the figures we’ve been given by this government are even close to the truth.

    I’m really dreading this upcoming election because I feel we’re being asked to choose between dumb and dumber.

  2. John Buker Says:

    To the editor:

    The provincial government recently announced, out of the blue and with no public consultation whatsoever, an entirely new Port Mann bridge to be built. It will not be a twinned bridge, but a single 10-lane span, and the existing bridge will be unnecessarily torn down, only 45 years into its 75 year lifespan. There will be no light rail component on the new bridge when it is forecast to be completed in 2013. The project’s estimated cost is $3.3 billion. If recent megaprojects are any indication, this cost will likely rise substantially.

    Government spin that the bridge is designed to accomodate light rail ‘sometime in the future’ is just that – spin. Another word is ‘deception.’ Never in history has this type of bridge been built, and then at a later date had lanes taken away to accomodate light rail. It appears the BC government is trying to deceive the people of BC, who will likely be expected to pay the equivalent of about $1000 for every man, woman, and child in the province for this one single-minded project.

    Every premier wants a legacy. But while governments the world over are now making wise investments in light rail infrastructure, in BC we are building bridges, and tearing them down. Meanwhile, the Interurban rail line sits there, waiting, mostly unused.

    While the Pattullo Bridge and the Fraser River Rail Bridge are in true need of replacement, this mega-project, and the utterly wasteful demolition of the existing Port Mann Bridge, will leave the province bankrupt of money for these, and other, important and necessary improvements.

    When will we get long-overdue passenger rail service for the Fraser Valley? Commuters are supposed to cheer the temporary relief of traffic congestion on the bridge, while the light rail needs of the valley, and the united pleas of residents across the region, are completely ignored. Outside of inner political circles, I have not heard a whole lot of cheering.

    Citizens of the Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland, and the rest of BC, we can not stand for this!

    Contracts have not yet been signed. It is time for us to stand up and make government listen.

    John Buker
    Rail for the Valley

    -I’m happy to see that an edited version made it into the Vancouver Sun: http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/letters/Waiting+passenger+rail+service+Fraser+Valley/1272547/story.html

  3. Kirsten Hauge Says:

    sent to the Chilliwack papers a few minutes ago:

    What’s that old saying? (I seem to be using it a lot lately) “If you always do, what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten”. When are the politicians in charge going to get it? More lanes on more bridges simply won’t do it. Funny how Campbell says the right things when Arnold visits or when questions are put to him, but when you look at what it is he is actually doing, he doesn’t walk the talk! This man and his team just don’t get it!! I cannot voice how disappointed I was that not only are the Liberals about to add more lanes to an already packed highway, but there is not provision what-so-ever for light rail, and they haven’t even considered a separate span for HOV. (Have you experienced single occupant vehicles nipping into the HOV lane because they can’t be bothered to wait like the rest of us?..who hasn’t)
    Some have said that provision has been made for light rail later on…I say why later on? We need it NOW! Others will say oh well the situation is much too complex and we need the traffic untangled now. I have heard it said that if more highways were the answer to our congestion & pollution then southern California would never have had their smog problems. Some say that it is all part of the Pacific Gateway expansion and it will be necessary if we want to compete in the global marketplace and I add that all that container traffic being pulled by truck, will snarl up the traffic even more and not being able to breathe will take care of our position in the global market.
    Walk the talk Gordon Campbell or step aside for someone who will! As to the rest of us, PLEASE THINK VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS DONE and this time, vote for someone who cares about the environment and maybe you’ll get something refreshingly better.

  4. Timothy Says:

    What is the name of the company in charge of building the portmann bridge ? I appreciate your assistance .

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