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

Reel Reviews: Atypical college life

We say, “Life of the Party is pleasant and harmless.”

Fun and games, medieval style

more fun than watching the royal wedding

Families honoured by Penticton Speedway Memorial race

Young Guns Memorial Weekend is held at the Penticton Speedway this weekend

Canadian Forces coming to help Twin Lakes

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said 44 Canadian Forces deployed

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Talking music at Penticton’s Dream Café

Listen Up! to Holger Petersen

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read