The ‘real’ thing about the Port Mann Bridge.

“The thing about the Port Mann Bridge is people start using it–and they love it, because it saves so much of their time that they would otherwise be driving and they can spend with their family for example or get out and coach soccer. So they have some really good strategies I think to try and improve those numbers, but after speaking with them I’m confident they’re gonna find a way to manage through this.”

The Transportation Investment Corporation which operates the bridge for government has had to borrow money to fill the gap in revenue left by the shortfall.

The number of vehicles crossing the Port Mann declined every single month last year except for December, which saw a 3% increase. ~ http://www.cknw.com/2015/01/22/premier-says-drivers-will-embrace-tolled-port-mann/?sc_ref=facebook

 

Here’s the real thing about the Port Mann Bridge, Premier Clark.

It’s true that people love saving time on their commute so they can spend more time with their family, or get out with their friends….or get to their second,and sometimes third job.

You see Premier Clark, because the Vancouver area is too expensive for many average families and young couples starting out, Surrey,Langley and the Fraser Valley have provided somewhat affordable housing for all of us. We also have a very large population of  lower-income earners and pensioners, both groups of people who are often barely making ends meet.

Those who used the old crossing were excited to hear an end to the gridlock down Highway 1 was in sight, but in the years since the bridge began construction, a lot more has changed in this province than just premiers.

Life’s become more expensive for just about everyone from college kids to seniors. 

The federal government is taking more money off paycheques in the form of higher EI and CPP deductions. ICBC is going up, BC hydro rates are going up, MSP premiums have gone up again.

Tuition rates have risen,hitting college students and parents in the pocket-book hard.

BC ferries has gone up over the years, for those who can still afford a vacation. Even with the fuel surcharge gone for now, it’s a budget breaking trip for many.

Food prices have skyrocketed, something we have discussed at length here on this blog. When people are worried about the soon to expire discount disappearing you know things are worse than it seems at first glance.

In Surrey, property taxes were just hiked and that didn’t just impact property owners, but renters as well as landlords happily passed part of that burden on to tenants.

Even the ability to go camping-historically a low-cost alternative vacation for families that was affordable with a tent tossed in the back and some gear – is increasingly out of reach as your government announced today a fee increase for usage.

It all adds up Premier Clark. And when it does, there isn’t much left over- certainly not enough in many cases to cover a months worth of tolls if you use the bridge twice a day, five days a week to get to and from work or school. It actually does make a very big difference to many people’s budgets.

So here’s the thing about the Port Mann bridge Premier Clark, that gets to the heart of the matter.

It could have turned out like a Field of Dreams, where if you build it, they will come.

But after being nickeled and dimed at every opportunity, drivers are sending a very clear message to your government about the Port Mann Bridge. The question is, are you listening?

outrage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*please note it states ‘going to’ – not ‘gonna’.

39 thoughts on “The ‘real’ thing about the Port Mann Bridge.

  1. Heather Lapierre

    Too bad they can’t figure out that if they tolled ALL the bridges just a little, they would be farther ahead, the traffic wouldn’t be skewed, and people wouldn’t have to pay over $120 a month just to get to and from work. $40/ a month is much easier to handle and would be worth it to save time and gas.

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      1. They could charge a significant gas tax so the heaviest and least fuel-efficient vehicles pay the most, which is logical since those vehicles cause the most wear and tear on roadways. But then, they already do that and now they’re searching for more and different ways of extracting our money.

        Don’t worry about tolling other bridges because their plan is to go to “road pricing” where users can be charged tolls for moving past any section of road they choose.

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      2. Derek

        Yes, a small toll on every bridge would solve the problem but it would also be political suicide for the Premier that introduced it. How do you think all those Vancouver voters that are not paying any tolls will react on election day?
        Not going to happen I’m afraid. What needs to happen is a ban on commercial truck crossings over the Patullo bridge and reduce their toll by 50% on the Port Mann. They take up both lanes when crossing and slow traffic down considerably on Patullo Bridge.
        The toll for all other vehicle needs to be reduced on the Port Mann and Golden Ears also.

        The Liberals should never have removed the toll on the Coquihalla Highway, very few, if any, were complaining about it and that revenue could have been used to subsidize the Port Mann and Golden Ears.
        Derek

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  2. John's Aghast

    So eloquently phrased! Thank goodness I was able to depart (Vancouver) before all this nonsense started. I know, that’s very selfish of me, Maybe its a coping mechanism. Anyway, whenever I get the opportunity to visit your beautiful city, I’m like the Country Mouse and can hardly wait to turn around, get out and regain my sanity. If ‘they’ had stuck to the original proposal (a new, five lane bridge) perhaps it would have been affordable and more people would use it, thus increasing the revenue. Something like the Ferries.

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  3. Bruce

    I don,t see why they don’t toll the highway from Horseshoe bay right through to Abbotsford at a reduced cost $2.00 one way. there are a lot of vehicles that travel that #1 highway in a day. Just saying.

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    1. Laila

      Hmm… sounds like that road-pricing the mayors council has said they will introduce into discussion should a yes vote occur in the transit referendum… you know,where you pay to use certain roads and routes?

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  4. Davemj

    Dumbo does not listen,slags her thirteen year old son,the maple leaf fans,the N.D.P.who have not been in power for ten years put this province to historical debt .Has two Lear jets for her and her cronies sitting there with her pricy bottle of wine thinking about her next trip to Asia for more great deals !HA HA!!! Which has yet to be seen,maybe she can snag us another Bollywood $12 million deal no I am not prejudiced ,it’s this poor excuse of a premier who does not give a dam ! About hungry kids,old agers in care homes she charged them $25.00 per month for wheel chairs,the only Province in Canada to charge premiums for health care,highest child poverty rate even her butt is super inflated she is even worse than Gordo Scumball who was the lowest of low ,well you get what you voted for but i guess if your so well off you don’t care for all the injustice,s done by this most corrupt government in the history of B.C it’s your team.

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    1. Laila

      I understand your outrage and anger,and empathize,but please refrain from name-calling, please. It simply doesn’t add any merit to the good points in your comment. Thank you!:)

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  5. r

    if everyone paid their fair share,resource royalties rates review, there would be no MSP tax,at least make it progressive to income,more collected than corporate tax(11 percent?).BC would not be taking profits and claiming perpetual poverty from icbc?bcferries?bchydro=3 billion borrowed to pay a vaporware “dividend”, by proxy, to general revenue.
    golden ears bridge lost almost 50 million last year.
    port mann-SFPR bypass, billion dollar, to ladner, under port mann, for free.

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/port-mann-trips-down-in-2014-debt-reaches-3-6-billion-1.2201232

    And you trust BC liberals with site C.?-while these 2 projects are still a go-Revelstoke 420 million for 500 mW,wind farm 500 million for 175 mW -Massey tunnel bridge 3 billion dollars,Since when does a bridge cost 3 billion ,only in BC?
    Oh dont blame us , its not us, its translink.?
    LNG dream fantasy nightmare.?
    2020 BC debt 80 billion.?
    2025 100 billion?
    http://www.debtclock.ca/provincial-debtclocks/british-columbia/british-columbia-s-debt/
    http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/opinion/article_5a259a98-955e-11e4-9847-830c7ed9d09d.html
    http://northerninsights.blogspot.ca/

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  6. G. Barry Stewart

    Well said, Laila! It’s amazing to hear that the ridership is down from even the OLD Port Mann bridge numbers, not just last year’s.

    Big difference from the old bridge days: they didn’t have an office full of staff, dolling out toll bills to drivers that used it. Somebody has to pay for the staff and technology. The bridge was WAY overbuilt, as well, obliging tolls to pay for the excesses.

    I wonder how many Valley drivers get tricked into crossing the bridge because they miss the last turn into Surrey… miles before the bridge. ‘Happened to me at Christmas — but I made sure I drove over the Patullo on my way back. I didn’t want to further inflate the numbers!

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  7. Chris

    The only problem with the bridge is that it should have been built 15 years earlier.

    The same people who complain about the cost are the same ones standing in the way of economic development. As for Site C, they should have built it 10 years ago.

    Northern B C could be an economic powerhouse if we could only get the money grubbers who stand in the way of every new development or mine to back off. We should have been well on our way to shipping natural gas to Asia by now.

    A major problem and expense that we have hanging over our heads is the cost of the medical system. I don’t like standing in the same line with people who have never and will never pay into the system.

    I think that new immigrants should pay for the real cost of their medical or be told to buy into an insurance system if they want to live here. Multi- bullions $$$ could be saved here and we could then afford to have an even better transportation system with no tolls whatsoever. Time is money and time is also a quality of life issue.

    Sure, I’ve probably ‘offended’ the liberals that post here. But I have a question for you.

    If a box was printed on the ballot at the next election and you had a choice to pay for or to not pay for free medical for people who haven’t paid in to it, and you would get a corresponding tax deduction if you checked ‘no’; (as in a refund of thousands of dollars) what box would you check?

    The cost of the bridge is chump change compared to the cost of the medical system. What we need now is 4 lanes each way to Chilliwack and some more Skytrains. We need to get a new tunnel pronto and a new Pattullo Bridge, as in right away.

    And the dolts at Transit should all be fired. Something as simple as real live people checking for tickets from the very beginning of Skytrain would have provided lots of jobs and saved us $$$ millions in lost revenue. They should start extending the train up the valley right now.

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    1. @Chris: Clark’s natural gas plan is a pipe dream now. Asia is sourcing cheaper and closer gas supplies to them. Thank god – fracking destroys ground water supplies and those toxic fluids will rise to the surface eventually. She would have given away our resource for almost nothing.

      Want to know how an energy rich country should manage its good fortune? Look at Norway – when the North Sea strikes started coming in, they established a fund for the royalties that at the beginning of last year totaled 909 BILLION dollars (http://www.vueweekly.com/norway-sets-the-bar/). They could do that because they set up a state owned oil company to learn about the industry AND were willing to leave it in the ground if they didn’t get the price they wanted. Guess what? Eventually someone paid the price they wanted. Norway has a budget surplus of ~11% of GDP (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/norway/government-budget) and doesn’t use oil royalties to pay for gov’t programs (http://www.vueweekly.com/norway-sets-the-bar/).

      Contrast that to Alberta which only has $17.4 billion in the Heritage Fund as of September 30, 2014 – they stopped paying into it in 1987. Oh yeah – those canny money managers in the Alberta Conservative gov’t have run hundreds of million dollars or billion dollars deficits since 2008 (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/alberta-politics/viz/deficits/index.html).

      Site C? Flooding a large amount of some of the province’s best farmland just because we don’t use it now? What about CONSERVING it for the future, when we’ll need it?

      “…new immigrants should … be told to buy into an insurance system…” They do and we do. It’s called our single payer medical system and they pay into it with taxes just like you and I.

      Oh, wait! We could make it pay as you go – then everyone can save money while they’re young and healthy! When they get sick at the end of their lives and use the vast majority of their lifetime’s medical expenditures and don’t have the money to pay, we’ll just let them die!

      WE TRIED THAT SYSTEM ALREADY. It didn’t work very well for most people. The US has a variant of that system – it doesn’t work very well for most Americans, either. The statistics definitively state that people in countries with national single payer health care plans live longer. Oh, but it doesn’t work for you because you’re too greedy to contribute $200 towards fellow Canadians’ health care so we should change it! YESTERDAY!

      “…Multi- bullions $$$ could be saved here…” Prove it and cost it. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions – but not to their own facts.

      “…Something as simple as real live people checking for tickets from the very beginning of Skytrain would have provided lots of jobs and saved us $$$ millions in lost revenue….” We’d be better off overall with a transit system that isn’t funded from the farebox. The handful of systems in the world that have ‘free’ transit have better and more livable cities (http://is.gd/XTxvBR).

      The conservative mindset is so often driven by either greed or fear or both. They’re like toddlers sitting on the best toy in the playroom going, “That’s ones mine too! And that one!” I never hear of them trying to help the less fortunate of us or those of us who need some temporary help. It’s always about, MINE, MINE, MINE – despite having more than enough for their own needs and wants.

      But then, they can’t help it, can they? The brain science is telling us that (http://www.amazon.com/The-Righteous-Mind-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777). Now what we have to do is to somehow ensure that those crippled brains stop making decisions for our society. I think an important step would be to end limited liability for corporations (http://open.salon.com/blog/marc_erickson/2011/10/31/fixing_capitalism) – that would self-correct a lot of issues we have trouble with now…

      “…the whole idea of keep everyone afraid, and they’ll consume.” – Marilyn Manson
      “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard Feynman
      “Opinion is free but facts are sacred.” – C. P. Scott via Stephen Rees
      “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!” – Robert A. Heinlein

      Like

  8. Reading annual reports of the Transportation Investment Corporation demonstrates the reliability of their spokespeople. In the report for Fiscal Year 2013, they pronounced the project “on-time and on-budget” (page 14) and in the 2014 report, it’s still “on schedule and on budget” (Page 24).

    They now admit to having debt of $3.6 billion on a project that was first announced with a cost of $1.5 billion. The tolls were first expected to be $2.50 so, with higher capital cost and lower traffic counts, the business model requires tolls of $6 for a single crossing or $300 for a monthly pass. Of course, most citizens pay that with after-tax dollars.

    Even the numbers I project might be conservative unless they eliminate the toll-free crossings using the Pattullo bridge and Massey tunnel.

    http://northerninsights.blogspot.ca/2014/10/restraint-bc-government-style.html

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    1. workforfun

      It seems that a large number of the things that the BC Liberal government have done were illegal – they just changed the rules as they went along.
      They have set a standard of behaviour that would equal that of a lot of third world country governments – families first eh ! Not in British Columbia or it’s ever changing composite.

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  9. motorcycleguy

    Could someone please tell me when the Port Mann bridge will be finished? I am certain I saw a ribbon cutting ceremony on TV with no traffic diversion barrels and “lane closed ahead” signs in the field of view……but there sure are a lot of them now. Is it still “on time”? It’s getting pretty close to the same number of years as it took to widen the Panama Canal.

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    1. Laila

      Well I think the highway improvement portion is seperate from the bridge and if memory serves me correctly that was slightly downgraded along with the SFPR, which is why people hit so much congestion sometimes after exiting the bridge westbound.

      But it’s on time, on budget. Except when it’s not. 🙂

      Like

      1. John's Aghast

        The highway improvement portion and the new 5 lane bridge were initially a single project. What happened after Kiewit defaulted and the proposal was revised is anyone’s guess. I don’t believe any “Common People” have any idea what transpired after the default and illegal awarding of the contract.
        Yes, the road improvement portion was significantly changed as was the bridge component.

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  10. misallocationofcapital

    OTOH, there is something to be said for dinging the drivers who actually USE the bridge via tolls, rather than all the rest of us via taxes. Living on the Island, we here expect to pay a lot for ferries too. Now, government…where’s my tax cut, as I’m not a bridge user…?

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    1. Lew

      I’m surprised to learn that only people who live on the Island pay for ferries.

      I wonder if you could further inform us whether they also pay enough taxes to independently fund the schools, hospitals, roads and bridges and other public infrastructure on the Island or whether some of that has to come from “over here”?

      That would be helpful in determining how big your tax cut will be.

      Like

      1. misallocationofcapital

        “I’m surprised to learn that only people who live on the Island pay for ferries.”
        Read again. I didn’t say that.

        But I do think people choosing to live here on the Island should pay the cost.

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        1. Lew

          Your ferry analogy said it. You argue that since you don’t use the Port Mann Bridge, you should somehow be entitled to a tax cut, and offer the fact that “we here” expect to pay a lot for ferries too. You don’t pay any more per trip on the ferries than anybody else and we all pay taxes to subsidize the ferry system. For your argument to work drivers who use the Port Mann Bridge but don’t use the ferry system should be entitled to a tax cut as well. Or people who live on the Island should pay more per trip than those who don’t.

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          1. Lew

            I should add that to follow your argument to its logical conclusion, anyone who uses neither the ferry system nor the Port Mann should be entitled to an even bigger tax cut.

            This is a good example of why infrastructure costs should come from general revenue. Either toll all or toll none.

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  11. RS

    “The thing about the Helijet is people start using it–and they love it, because it saves so much of their time that they would otherwise be on a ferry and they can spend with their family for example or get out to the next photo-op.”

    Like

  12. Jeff Nagel has done two stories on the Port Mann Bridge. 2011 while the Old Port Mann Bridge was standing which included a projection, a graph, of expectations of crossings counted per day.

    http://raven.b-it.ca/portals/uploads/BCLN2007/.DIR288/portmanntrafficgraph-4web.jpg graph

    http://www.surreyleader.com/news/116879748.html

    Free 2007 45,625,000 365 125,000
    Free 2011 51,100,000 365 140,000
    Tolled 2013 54,750,000 365 150,000
    37,000,000
    Tolled 2017 64,970,000 365 178,000
    Tolled 2021 68,985,000 365 189,000
    ********************************************************************
    Current Port Mann crossings 2015

    Tolled 2014 37,000,000 365 101,370
    http://www.burnabynewsleader.com/news/289510161.html

    Like

    1. The 2015 article is presented in Yearly crossings. The 2011 was presented in Daily crossings. Spreadsheet cells don’t copy well to text mode.
      The ‘365’ days was used to calculate per year
      eg. Tolled:
      2013 Crossings per year 54,750,000; Crossings per day 150,000
      2014 Crossings per year 37,000,000; Crossings per day 101,370

      If anything the BC Liberals should be dropping the tolls lower, not raising. All one has to look at is the other white elephants: Golden Ears and the BC Ferries

      Like

      1. r

        500m windfarm at tumbler ridge a go thats for 175mW
        420m revelstoke site 6 a go thats a go for 500mW
        so site c also at 9,000 million dollars
        massey tunnel at 3,000 million dollars
        BC liberals are ignoring commodities collapse of prices ?oil in particular.?

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  13. e.a.f.

    There should be NO TOLLs on bridges, etc. in B.C. if the B. C. Lieberals had managed the money they had and not reduced taxes, we would have had adequate funds to build bridges. if the B.C. Lieberals had not waste a billion here and a billion there on things this province didn’t need, we would have no need for tolls. If The B.C. Lieberals knew how to run a pop stand there would be no need for tolls.

    This province takes in more from student tutition fees for post secondary education than from corporate taxes. That is why the B.C. Lieberals want tolls. They need to fund the province and their friends aren’t going to be the ones paying for it.

    When you look at the tax breaks/write offs for mining, oil, gas, etc. you know why we have tolls on bridges, dirty hospitals, inadequate services for children, inadequate health care, etc.

    Things will only get worse in this province and the tolls will just continue to go up. As more unemployed workers come back from Alberta, we will see the real “progress” Premier “photo op” will have made. About all that works in B.C. is organized crime, casinos, and food banks.

    Alberta will weather the economic storms which are coming, because their Premier has some sort of game plan and isn’t trying to sell pie in the sky. B.C. Premier doesn’t have a back up plan, well she doesn’t have any plan at all, except how to have her next photo-op. Being in full denial is usually considered a form of mental illness. In B.C. its “business as usual”.

    Like

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