The recent $740 million photo-op with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his protégé for the next federal election, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, and B.C.'s premier, was nothing more than flim-flam to get regional taxpayers to ante up their portion for the very poorly thought out and grossly expensive 10-year plan that will benefit developers more than transit customers.
The two centerpieces of this plan, the Broadway SkyTrain subway and the Surrey LRT, are poorly thought out, expensive, won't reduce congestion and will force more people to drive.
We have already invested $10 billion of the taxpayer money on rapid transit and mode share by car in the Metro Vancouver region has remained static at 57 per cent for a quarter of a century.
The real winners of the $740 million investment in regional transit: 1. Bombardier Inc., which will get $345 million for new West Coast Express cars and proprietary ART cars (SkyTrain). 2. TransLink's bureaucrats, who will get $157 million so they can continue to "play trains" with the $3 billion Broadway subway and the $2.5 billion for Surrey's poor man's SkyTrain. 3. Land developers, who will get relaxed zoning at proposed rapid transit stations.
The big losers: 1. The transit customer, who will suffer more incompetent planning and not one new bus for south of the Fraser River was included.
2. The taxpayer, who has to pay for this questionable transit planning, for two grossly expensive transit projects that will do little or nothing to ease congestion.
I had hoped Trudeau would usher in a new era of fiscal prudence, but he has just telegraphed the federal Liberals are open for business, especially for Bombardier Inc., as they were a decade ago.
The Liberals have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, leaving the taxpayer vulnerable to their political excesses.
D. Malcolm Johnston