Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Restraint, BC Government style

Nearly half a million children are missing school days this year because government believes that spending restraint is imperative. Restraint in collecting taxes, at least from ordinary citizens, is not as vital.

The Transportation Investment Corporation (TIC) annual report provides a view of what lies ahead for commuters crossing the Fraser River on the new Port Mann bridge. When Gordon Campbell announced the structure and associated roadworks, they were to cost $1.5 billion and the bridge toll was to be $2.50. The final tab, at $3.319 billion, is 121% higher but, at $3.00, the small vehicle toll is up only 20%.

Before long, the present toll will look like a bargain. TIC's revenue forecast in fiscal year 2014 was 29% higher than actual receipts but the agency counts on raising those amounts by 85% in three years. Since traffic levels are below expectations, most of TIC's additional income will result from higher prices. That suggests we're headed toward a single small vehicle crossing fee of $6.00 and a monthly pass cost of $300 or more.

Non-commercial tolls might rise even more if government moderates increases for businesses or if higher prices result in still lower traffic levels.



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12 comments:

  1. Have you been to the Transportation Investment Corporation office in Coquitlam? It is in the same building as the Treo office. I went there to get a new transponder sticker. I would have been happy picking up my transponder sticker from an office in an Atco trailer. Who authorized the expenses involved in that building? The height of dis-respect for those who are forced to pay for it.

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  2. Tell me if I'm wrong — but didn't the hated tolls on the Coquihalla Highway stay the same throughout the 20 or so years that the fees were collected?

    I already balk at the idea of paying a toll to cross the Port Mann and tend to do my shopping and recreation in ways that keep me from crossing on toll bridges. If the toll rates are further increased, Fraser Valley residents will be even more motivated to shop locally (not a bad idea anyway) — or across the border (a REAL killer to tax revenue, as the border agents are so slack on collecting even sales taxes from same-day shoppers. As well, the gasoline bought state-side contributes nothing for BC road taxes.)

    Raised toll rates would also give valley residents yet another reason to avoid crossing the bridge to attend sports events or concerts.

    I say keep the toll where it is — or find ways to reduce it… especially for daily commuters and commercial vehicles. MAYBE it's fine to say, "The new bridge saves you x amount of time and fuel… so come on, give us a chunk of that," but any more and it's just a tax grab.

    Michael and Gordon Campbell have both proclaimed the evils of taxation and how tax cuts can spur the economy; Christy and crew should heed their advice, on this issue.

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  3. In the Oxford University study linked in the preceding article, they say the mean cost overrun for roads is 20% and for bridges 34% and that includes projects in third world countries where they start with little up to date engineering data. The Port Mann project covered no new or little known land and engineering studies from the seismic safety retrofit were only a few years old.

    B.C. may be a world leader since the Port Mann bridge and No. 1 highway improvements went 121% over budget.

    If fast ferries rated a public inquiry over mistakes that cost a few hundred million, the Port Mann oops, having cost almost two billion dollars, should result in an immediate inquiry.

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    Replies
    1. The entire Panama Canal expansion cost is estimated at $5.25 billion USD.......and we paid $3.3 billion CAD for a bridge from Surrey to Coquitlam. The exchange rate would have been roughly the same at the time of construction. Who do you think got the better deal? I think we need a wholesale change in "business savvy" people this government associates with.

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    2. I think the bridge was only 800 million or so . Most of the costs were for the highway 1 upgrades . Since the federal government is responsible for that portion funded by the 10c a litre tax we pay on every litre of gas we buy that means we have already paid for that bridge and more in the last decade or so. the real question is how stupid and docile are Canadians and BC`rs in particular and the answer is very

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    3. JasonS, can you provide a source for the statement that the bridge cost was $800 and the roadworks were the other $2.5 billion?

      The original estimate of $1.5 billion was for the entire project, bridge and changes and additions to Highway 1.

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    4. To be quite honest I cant remember where I read that cost estimate for the bridge out of the myriad of articles I read about the project im sorry. And I tried searching. Perhaps I should have said the majority of the projects costs were related to the highway 1 upgrades and overpass works. Again im sorry.

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    5. Yes, I would like to see if the original estimates were segregated bridge and roadworks. That would be interesting. The Panama Canal cost was complete, not just for the locks, but all associated channel work and lake level work......so we would be comparing apples and apples with the Port Mann......or is that apples and bananas (being the Banana Republic this government has turned us into).

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  4. Absolutely disgusted. And these "lieberals" are supposed to be good money managers? Good for who? Not you or I. Good for the corps, transnationals, and overseas citizens, that's it. And to increase this toll, well we know how it is now. Ever listen to the road reports and traffic moves are so light on the port mann until you get to the other side and nothing's really changed, congested as ever. Btu we south of the Fraser paid for all those overpasses and widening on the other side, no toll there! So you know the count isn't there on the port mann. I have used it sporadically and will only use it on my terms. Cross border or near my home is where I shop and will continue to do that. I have never seen such an incompetent bunch as those sitting in Victoria right now and have been since 2001. Appalling bunch, and not good for the "citizens" of this province.

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  5. If I am going anywhere east of the Port Mann, I use the S Fraser Perimeter Rd.
    Hop on south side Alex Fraser and off at 176.
    Not usually any traffic, little if any lost time and I save 6 bucks.
    Motorcycle Guy;
    I've been in that building as well. What an insult to tax payers. I asked what TREO does there.
    Apparently they need 250 employees to collect Port Mann fares...huh?
    Um, and why is there another like building on the south side of the PM?
    No one could tell me just who owns the building.
    Hawgwash

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    Replies
    1. Been there too. I heard it was owned by Peter Kiewit but, sorry, do not have any proof. I guess anyone with Land Title could probably find out - may see Company #'d 123345 or whatever. I don't know where all those 250 employees are - it looked pretty empty to me - but I suspect they are mostly TFW's if you look at the website they offer many different languages (but funnily not English). I phoned the first time to get my sticker and asked for someone who spoke England which she assured me she did. After 45 minutes of agony I was finally assured my decal would be mailed to me, but did you know that 'ah" is really "R" in someone else's language. Never again will I phone -- will drive at my inconvenience in the future.

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  6. This blog must be wrong because I'm sure I heard Liberals announce these projects were ON TIME, ON BUDGET!

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