The replacement of the Massey Tunnel with a new bridge on Highway 99 between Delta and Richmond is expected to be one of the centrepiece projects of the new 10-year provincial transportation plan.

B.C. transportation plan steers clear of ferry, bridge toll complaints

Minister Todd Stone seeks public input ahead of release of new 10-year provincial transportation plan

Transportation Minister Todd Stone is calling for public input to help guide a new 10-year provincial transportation plan he aims to unveil by the end of January.

The public consultations for the plan – dubbed “B.C. On the Move” – include meetings across the province with communities and stakeholders, a Twitter town hall and a dedicated website at engage.gov.bc.ca/transportationplan.

Stone said he expects local priorities coming forward may include calls for secondary road improvements, more highway passing lanes or four-lane sections, as well as enhancements to local transit or cycling routes.

The ministry is accepting submissions until Dec. 12.

Survey questions to the public released by the ministry emphasize highway improvements and ask nothing about coastal ferry service or fares – the main source of criticism for Stone in recent months. The ministry will instead rely on previous public consultations in 2011 by the B.C. Ferry Commissioner to guide the ferries portion of the new plan.

Nor does the document ask the public if they’re willing to pay more tolls to finance new bridges in Metro Vancouver.

Stone previously promised a tolling policy review, in light of probable new tolls on replacements of the Pattullo Bridge and Massey Tunnel, and a call from Metro mayors for tolling reform to allow road pricing to fund TransLink.

Tolling inequity is already a major complaint among Surrey-area residents, who feel singled out by tolls on the province’s Port Mann Bridge and TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge.

Stone said he remains committed to review the policy, which allows tolls only on new infrastructure where there’s a reasonable untolled alternative, but couldn’t give a timeline.

The replacement of the Massey Tunnel between Delta and Richmond with a new bridge is already in the technical design phase and is expected to be one of the plan’s centrepiece projects, along with the Cariboo Connector four-laning of 440 kilometres of Highway 97 from Cache Creek to Prince George.

It’s also expected to explore options for a future second crossing of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna.

Stone said a successful referendum on new taxes for TransLink in Metro Vancouver next spring would result in the mayors’ transit expansion plans being added into the provincial plan.

A referendum defeat, he said, would leave “other investments” identified as priorities in the Lower Mainland to be pursued under the plan.

Stone said he’s working collaboratively with the mayors to help them adjust their financial assumptions and design the question so the referendum – to be held via mail-in ballot – has the “maximum chance of success.”

A discussion guide (see below) for the consultations notes the province needs to replace aging transportation infrastructure, while preparing for an extra million B.C. residents by 2025 as well as the effects of aging demographics, growing demand for public transit and increased pressure on rural roads from resource development.

As for how to pay for new infrastructure, the ministry document says the province would “explore different funding options” while also maximizing federal contributions and partnering with First Nations, local governments and the private sector

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena said the questions posed by the province are “exceedingly superficial” and fail to address B.C.’s biggest transportation problems.

BContheMove DiscussionGuide Web Oct 6 2014

Just Posted

UPDATE: Darke Lake residents under evacuation alert

Fire crews battling wildfire in rural community west of Summerland

Regional district on hunt for manager of emergency services

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is looking for a new emergency services manager

Chance of showers may not be enough to rid Okanagan of smoke

Wind and chance of thunderstorms competing factors in this week’s forecast

Evacuation alert for Dark Lake Valley area

There are 21 properties are affected

$21.5 million medical pot plant for Princeton

A $21.5 million medical marijuana facility - expected to provide 95 jobs… Continue reading

Filmmaker captures the smoke that enveloped the Shuswap

Check out this video of the haze that blanketed Salmon Arm

Smoke looming in Okanagan could affect wine

Smoke taint could sour this years vintages if ash falls on grapes

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Cool Creek fire near Princeton grows to 6,900 hectares

The Cool Creek fire is threatening recreational homes in high elevation north west of Cathedral

Columbia Shuswap directors allocates cash to secure rail trail funding

Money will help create trail network on former Armstrong to Sicamous corridor

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Most Read