Delta South MLA Ian Paton has come out swinging against NDP leader John Horgan over the potential demise of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.
“The replacement project is vital to all British Columbians,” said the recently sworn in Liberal MLA.
“Our economy is at stake and the agreement between the NDP and the Green party to kill infrastructure spending for the sake of pursuing their own political interests is putting the province’s future at risk. The fact is that after years of consultation, we need a tunnel replacement urgently, and if you are sitting in traffic daily, you want a solution ASAP. By tossing aside years of consultation, planning, and design work Horgan is essentially saying he is not interested in representing folks in Delta, or B.C. for that matter.”
Local 97 business manager Doug Parton this week wrote to Horgan raising concerns, saying the Ironworkers want the NDP leader to reconsider cancellation of the project that would eliminate the worst traffic bottleneck in the province and create thousands of jobs.
The 60-year-old tunnel is also potential earthquake risk, according to the government.
Earlier this month, Horgan, who has not stated whether he's outright opposed to the $3.5 billion project, said it's not likely the best plan and that he would defer the issue to the region's mayors.
The region's mayors, as well as Metro Vancouver, have already stated their opposition, indicating the 10-lane bridge is unnecessary.
Green leader Andrew Weaver told the media a second tunnel would be "much cheaper" and also that the new bridge was not part of an overall transportation plan.
Ravi Kahlon, the new NDP MLA for Delta North, also recently said there's no question there are traffic and congestion issues throughout the region, but the NDP is not committed to moving that congestion to the next bridge.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson has expressed frustration that the project could be stopped, saying that there's been much misinformation spread. She noted the aging tunnel only has a few more useful years of life. Having to build another tunnel would be a big waste of money, she said.
Preliminary work is already underway and major construction is scheduled to commence later this year with the new bridge opening in 2022, but the NDP-Green alliance could halt everything.
Premier Christy Clark has recalled the legislature for June 22. Her minority government is expected to lose a confidence motion shortly afterward, paving the way for an NDP government.