Dear Mr. Falcon,
I am still feeling rather confused this morning after watching your interview with CTV’s St. John Alexander on the 6 o’clock newscast last night.
In speaking with St.John about why tolls are absolutely necessary for the construction of the suddenly very expensive Port Mann Bridge construction, you told him it was because you didn’t want people in Fort St. John, or people in Chetwynd, or some people over on the island – who are never going to use that bridge – to have to pay for it.
Do you recall saying that? The link to that video is here at roughly the 5:25 min. mark : http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20080124/BC_Vid_Newscast_080124/20080205/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome
While it sounds incredibly generous on the part of the government to consider( for once), the taxpayers in the rest of BC who are unlikely to be driving that bridge anytime soon, it behooves me to reflect on why you would not also deem this to be the appropriate manner of handling the ongoing taxpayer cost in paying for the Provinces financial commitment on the Sea to Sly Sky Highway ? ( http://www.straight.com/article-93176/developers-are-the-games-real-winners )
What about those people in Fort. St. John, Mr.Falcon ? What about them?
Or the people you mentioned in Chetwynd and Vancouver island who are just as likely to NOT be using the Sea to Sky anytime soon?
You may as well add in the people in Prince George, or Vanderhoof, and God forbid, those poor souls in Mackenzie where the the mill is closed for business- they aren’t likely to be going up to whistler to ski anytime soon with their lives in ruin. I’m sure they would appreciate not having to contribute their hard-earned tax dollars to that highway project either. They need every penny they have to start fresh somewhere else.
By your own rationale for tolling the Port Mann, it seems highly unjust that the remainder of the province should have to pay for the Sea to Sky improvements either. Simple as that.
Maybe it’s just me, but try as I might, I just cannot see the sense in this statement. How do you pick and choose what projects we all pay for through taxes and others pay for through tolls? Rock, paper, Scissors?
By using this same rationale, I’m extremely surprised that the Sea to Sky was not selected for tolls – it would seem to be a cash cow for the province that you could realistically milk for years, what with the ongoing resort and residential development in that corridor. This was a very expensive project – some say much more expensive than it could have been : http://www.strategicthoughts.com/record2005/seatosky.html
What tourist doesn’t want to drive out that way, winter or summer? And let’s be frank here – if you can afford to go skiing in Whistler,( parking, lift pass, meals, etc) you can afford a $3 toll each way… why over look the opportunity to have revenue come in from a source that doesn’t include provincial taxpayers? I just can’t understand this.
My understanding from reading past information about the Sea to Sky highway project is that the commitment for paying the provinces portion is based over 25 years. http://www.partnershipsbc.ca/pdf/SeatoSkyFinal.pdf Please correct me if this is incorrect, after all, I am by no means a transportation minister.
Can you imagine the revenue from tolls on that stretch of highway? Imagine that. At least then, (much like the Port Mann project) it would be the residents , employees and tourists who live/work/play in the Squamish-Whistler area who bear the brunt of the improvement costs, rather than people like me who never go there – or the rest of the people in BC who can’t afford that trip either. When those considerations are taken into account, it would almost seem negligent on the governments part to NOT have a toll on the highway. Unless, of course , there are considerations the public does not know about that would affect such a decision. ( http://www.straight.com/article-93176/developers-are-the-games-real-winners )
Makes perfect sense to me, but then again, I’m just an average woman who is still having issues with why these P3 options are always more expensive than the public sector counterpart – you know the old “cost for value line” and ” risk adjustments”? Can’t understand the math you used on CTV last night, no matter how hard I try. Can’t understand why your ministry keeps trying to make us believe that P3’s are the best option for us. We all pay in the end, no matter who shares in the project financing.
Anyways, I digress.
I would appreciate any assistance and explanation you can offer me, because with 4 kids to put through college, I also need every penny I can save. You would seem to be the right person to talk to in this regards – after all, aren’t you the minister who was responsible for the 990 year contract in the sale of BC Rail?
Oops, sorry. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned that…
Ps. I really like this picture of you and Gordon. Can you both autograph one and send it to me for posterity? One for the memory book…
Just for fun, let’s throw a couple polls in here, to see how you feel about tolls on the Port Mann and the Sea to Sky Highway