Evergreen Line saga continues

Vancouver’s suburbs are exploding. Congestion and traffic headaches are becoming ever more common in places like Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Coquitlam as more and more people move to these suburbs in search of cheaper homes and a more peaceful life. However, life in these suburbs, politically at least, is anything but peaceful.

News came yesterday that TransLink, known to be short on cash ($450M annual deficit), was looking to delay funding for the Evergreen Line SkyTrain, a project that was to link the three towns described above. TransLink’s share of the project was to be about $400M of the total $1.4B it is projected to cost. However, with the pressure on the agency to financially shape up, the Evergreen Line is an obvious cut. A final decision is to come in October, whatever that means. The province and the federal government have pledged $400M and $350M in funding for their part, which is nothing to pout about.

TransLinks 11-km headache

TransLink's 11-km headache

Later, in what is shaping up to be a battle of creator vs. creature, the province’s transportation minister said, “we’re not even contemplating not moving forward with Evergreen Line”. Shirley Bond, the minister, did not elaborate on how TransLink was to pay for its share. Basically, she said they need to shape up. The dreaded t-word (tax) has been talked about, but once again business owners chime in saying that any new tax, especially on parking, would “hurt business”.

What is most interesting is that the 11-km Evergreen Line is a major part of the province’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Without it getting built, they will not be able to meet their targets set for 2020. The stated goal is at least 15% transit modal share in these communities, which is evidently impossible without a $1.4B SkyTrain line.

According to the CBC, this line was announced more than 20 years ago. It’s easy to see why residents in these areas are getting a little antsy.

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