The first salvo in the local provincial election campaign was launched this week as a pair of Liberal candidates took aim at the NDP's position on replacement of the George Massey Tunnel.
The Liberals issued a press release Wednesday slamming Delta North candidate Sylvia Bishop, as well as New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix, claiming the NDP's solution to the congestion at the tunnel is to paint it.
Calling themselves Today's Liberals, Bruce McDonald (Delta South) and Scott Hamilton (Delta North) pointed to recent comments attributed to Bishop.
"Premier Christy Clark and Today's B.C. Liberals have a bold vision for the future - one that includes making vital investments in our province's infrastructure," said McDonald.
"One of the reasons I chose to step forward is that her vision includes a plan to fix the biggest bottleneck my community faces every day - the Massey Tunnel."
The Liberal release noted that when asked about replacing the George Massey Tunnel, Bishop suggested in a Punjabi news publication to simply paint it, noting a brighter tunnel would improve traffic flow.
"People who live south of the Fraser understand this serious problem won't be solved with a shiny coat of paint," McDonald continued. "They deserve better than that."
Dix and the NDP have voted against every investment the B.C. Liberals have made towards infrastructure in B.C., the release stated.
"If they can't even support vital investments like the Canada Line, what would they support? Where's their plan?" asked Hamilton.
Bishop told the Optimist the criticism from her two Delta council colleagues is ludicrous, noting the government has promised to replace the crossing, even starting consultations, although it has no idea how to pay for the undertaking.
"This is an important piece of infrastructure we're talking about that the Liberals have identified as a priority, but they don't have it identified in their budget.
If it's such a priority, why isn't it funded?"
Bishop said any major infrastructure program should be dealt with as part of a whole series of improvements, not in piecemeal fashion.
In regards to her comments about painting the tunnel, she said it was one of several interim solutions suggested by many participants during initial consultations last December.
Bishop said Dix would be releasing a platform in short order.
As far as her own take what should be done with the tunnel, Bishop said, "Any additional crossing, whether it's under the river or over the river, is purely and highly speculative."
She added, "I, as an individual, am not going to add to that conversation right now because it is a huge regional problem for everyone south of the Fraser to get improved public transit, and if they have to use their cars, to not spend time in long lineups in traffic congestion."
If she and the NDP are elected, Bishop said she would look forward to working on solutions.