February 17, 2018

Pattullo: A question for Andrew Wilkinson

From the CBC:

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson questioned why the provincial government couldn’t get federal funding for the Pattullo Bridge replacement as well.
“Normally major infrastructure projects have a large component of federal financing. So we have to be concerned that B.C. rushed into this alone, and missed out on almost a half billion dollars of federal infrastructure funding,” he said.

Do tell us how much the federal government had committed to the Massey crossing when it was pulled out of the air by Premier Clark in 2013.  Or whether in subsequent years the Feds ever committed a loonie to its construction.
And while you’re at it, please explain:

  • What regional plan included the construction of Massey?
  • How many Metro mayors in the region supported it?
  • What provincial transportation plan prioritized it?
  • Why the previous transportation minister, Kevin Falcon, had rejected it as a pointless project?
  • Why the Liberals imposed a referendum requirement only for transit and not for Massey or any other major highway project?

Do tell.

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  1. On January 31st, Gordon Price was pounding on BC liberal candidate Todd stone suspected of wanting to have the Province to take control of translink road asset
    On February, 16th, it is exactly what did the Green/NDP government (without notice)
    Suddenly, the above is not a problem anymore, and Gordon price still has a bone
    to pick with the BC liberal: I imagine everyone is happy …but may we pass thoss meaningless quibbles:
    Whatever the government is in power: road bridges get fully funded by the Province (but at least under the BC liberal it was a user pay component, and Pattulo could have been fully paid by toll, rather than tax$)…while Transit is expected to be funded by someone else.

  2. It’s pointless to be asking questions of foregone initiatives, unless the purpose is to mask the current & relevant question of why the current caretaker coalition has failed to pursue some form of Fed infrastructure funding.
    Depending on your stripe, this is either ironic or moronic, given Horgan claims he has an excellent working relationship with Trudeau and the Kinder/Alberta is a window of opportunity to leverage Ottawa.
    Instead, $500,000,000 of provincial dollars will be taken from other critical programs, and gifted to New Westminster, a long-time NDP riding. Those that will pay dearly for the bridge are renters, minimum wagers, day-care parents.

    1. I have concerns about this decision primarily because it doesn’t advance the discussion on mobility pricing. But for somebody who seems to be a fan of the Liberals (don’t question their decisions; caretaker coalition) it is pretty odd that you would worry about money being taken from other critical programs. The Liberals sure went a long way to help “renters, minimum wagers, day-care parents”, didn’t they?
      Even though I think we should have mobility pricing, paying for this bridge out of general revenue stings those who pay the most taxes the most. Those, generally are not the people you seem to express so much concern for.
      WRT leveraging KM. Horgan has nothing to leverage. He is in no position to accept KM in return for a bribe of any kind. I hope he is more principled than that. We shall see. Besides, “an excellent working relationship” isn’t built on coercion.

      1. An excellent working relationship isn’t built in coercion.
        Apparently Trudeau thinks differently when it comes to Kinder Morgan.
        So far he has tied the national climate initiative, coastal spill response and environmental science studies funding to KM, and has unquestionably bought all the bullying and condescending rhetoric from Alberta in taking their side.
        Most egregiously he seems to believe the legal claptrap directed toward BC about the constitution without a peep about Alberta’s illegal trade war over nothing but an announcement about conducting the very studies the feds should have done long ago. What’s next, pulling the promised federal funding for Metro Vancouver transit if BC doesn’t cave tomorrow on its constitutional right to consult with citizens and strike a scientific panel to look deeper into the effects of bitumen spills? He’s broken important promises before (e.g. electoral reform). But coercion takes it all to a new level.
        He is one of the most incoherent and two-faced prime ministers ever. The more I read about this issue and the dangerous unilateral actions “in the national interest” the more I believe this project needs to end up in the Supreme Court of Canada for final resolution on constitutional grounds.

        1. For once, even Justin Trudeau has been pretty clear that the pipeline expansion is in the national interest.
          As usual, facts get brushed under the carpet in a highly partisan political duel: double hulled boats, with modern NAV systems and a local pilot on board, going 7-12 km/h do not sink. It is very safe. http://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2017/5/sinking-myth-dangerous-west-coast-oil-tanker-traffic/
          Also see the massive boat traffic to Seattle, dwarfing Vancouver’s: http://www.washingtonnature.org/marinestory/
          BC has no business pretending it can cancel the pipeline and associated oil shipping. It is clearly unconstitutional. BC is basically trying to delay and delay it in the hope the private operator will not invest.
          Billions of $s annually for Canada are at stake, incl those used for BC brides, tunnels or transit (plus of course hospitals or schools or teachers or nurses or roads .. via healthcare $s from the federal government or transfer payments). Canada is a major oil producer (in top 6-7 worldwide) and a major oil exporter.
          Asia needs oil, and if we do not supply it, someone else will. US even now exports oil, and buys ours 30% below world market prices. Brilliant scheme for the US. Are we this dumb to let this continue ?
          Or it may be shipped via Alaska, bypassing BC but navigating more treacherous waters, co-owned 50% by indigenous folks. https://biv.com/article/2017/12/multibillion-dollar-oil-rail-plan-aims-alaska Oil by rail is better why ?

        2. “Asia needs oil, and if we do not supply it, someone else will.”
          The more the supply gets constrained the less can be spilled into the atmosphere. We can’t stop others from profiting off the misery of future generations but we can and should do the right thing. Meanwhile people are fighting against fossil fuel growth all over the world. We are not alone.
          The US buys crappy bitumen at $30 below world market price for higher quality oil. No guarantee that anyone else will pay more. KM wins no matter what the price.
          Oil by rail is better because it isn’t a huge investment that locks us all into using it. Supply is more constrained. It can be stopped more easily. It’s still terrible. But a pipeline is worse.
          We hinder our economic, social and technological well-being by clinging to last century’s dirty energy. You’d have mounted fierce opposition to flush toilets and jeered at Galileo from the church steps too.

        3. The highest safety-rated shipping / tanker movements in the world will not prevent human error by the other guy. One Aframax tanker carries ~130,000,000 litres (750,000 barrels) of bitumen. The gods forbid a fully-loaded cruise ship ever backs into one just 300 m off Canada Place. Vancouver Harbour is very congested with narrow constrictions, and is the most likely place for an accident.
          And you pretend to be a constitutional expert. Thomas? Notley is sure pretending. From all I’ve read this project presents more constitutional questions than solutions.
          First, constitutionally-mandated municipal bylaws are overrided by a quasi-judicial federal agency in favour of a foreign private corporation — in the name of the constitution. The NEB review process was a sham, and those who testified there felt it was a kangaroo court with predetermined approvals in its back pocket.
          Second, the constitutionally mandated rights of the province to conduct scientific studies within its own jursidiction and consult with its own people are called “unconstitutional” by the puppets of the oil industry, including Trudeau. This project should be sent to the Supreme Court by Trudeau just to have their pretzel logic rhetoric surrounding the constitution straightened out.
          Third, having no Asian markets lined up does not add up to sound economics. Russia is about to sell all the gas and oil China needs directly from Siberia at a low price no one overseas will be willing to match. Kinder Morgan has economic feet of clay. But the BC NDP are sure to be blamed.
          Fourth, using bombast, arrogance, hubris, condescension and now an illegal trade war and threats of escalation are NOT sound or even intelligent negotiating strategies. This project will never generate for the nation more than 1% of the wealth Metro Vancouver produces on one year. It is in Alberta’s interest, not the national interest.
          As I said, Trudeau has now been sucked in, and he is threatening coercion. Be prepared to have previously committed federal funding for BC removed, for what? An announcement of a study. Maybe he is willing to sacrifice 18 Liberal seats in BC, and see the rise of the Green Party to potentially holding the balance of power.

        4. I get it Alex.
          Oil like cars are BAD. very bad.
          Windmills, even when not windy, and solar panels, even if snowcovered, like snow covered bike lanes and bikes are good, very good. Money grows on trees and cars run on pixie dust as does the entire food chain apparently.
          btw: pipelines are a FEDERAL jurisdiction as are highways AND railways.
          You live off Alberta oil money because the FEDERAL government is living off Alberta oil money, namely all the GST it collects, the federal personal incomes taxes it collects AND the federal corporate income taxes it collects. BY THE BILLIONS.
          It then re-distributes them to all provinces, for example for healthcare. Plus transfer payments on top. That is why Canada is so wealthy (or at least used to be).
          BC knows it is on VERY shaky constitutional grounds here. VERY. Their sole purposes of these “studies” and appeals is to delay delay delay.
          A cruise ship going 3 km/h crashing into an oil tanker going 8 km/h .. give me a break !
          Asia, Russia and the US are laughing all the way to the bank how stupid Canada is.
          I love BC wine AND Alberta oil. Both are vital liquids .. for a BCer ! Apparently a majority agrees https://biv.com/article/2016/12/poll-finds-majority-bc-support-trans-mountain

        5. If you had any knowledge of industrial shipping or the movement of goods you would know that ships leaving or entering our region are very prone to collision. They are heavy, have significant momentum, and are built for straightline efficiency at sea. By the time they hit the mouth of the juan de fuca, where there is often a fog bank, and hundreds of other ships transit weekly, they are doing 10-16knts which is roughly 18-30 km/hr. It takes multiple kilometers for them to stop or alter course.
          This is why the highest risk area is not vancouver harbour, but race rocks.

        6. Thomas doesn’t realize that pipe was ruptured and spewed a sickening mess all over the neighbourhood and into Burrard Inlet. And that was the small pipe. Now he backs a bigger one as the world knows it must ween itself off of the stuff.
          Human error will always be with us.
          But when a smoker who claims to want to quit starts buying cartons instead of packs it isn’t an error. It’s something else entirely.

        7. From he linked article:
          ” .. Let’s start on our eastern coasts. Transport Canada data shows that more than 1.6 million barrels of petroleum is safely moved from 23 Atlantic Canada ports each day. Another 500,000 barrels per day moves up the St. Lawrence to Montreal and other Quebec ports. Overall, Eastern Canada’s ports berth some 4,000 inbound petroleum tankers each year without any major incidents.
          Due to the proximity of the Vancouver and Seattle areas, analysis of tanker movements on the West Coast must include Canadian and American traffic. Essentially all tankers must transit the Strait of Juan de Fuca bordered to the north by Vancouver Island and to the south by Washington State.
          Of the approximately 1.2 million barrels per day of oil that goes though the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 500,000 barrels per day of mainly Alaskan oil similar in grade to Canada’s diluted oilsands crude moves south to the Seattle area.
          About 700,000 barrels per day moves from the Vancouver region transported by various means, including tugboat-towed barges, refined fuel tankers and, five days a month, an outbound tanker carrying crude from Kinder Morgan’s Vancouver pipeline terminus. Despite hundreds of millions of barrels of seaborn petroleum movements over many decades, the only significant spill on the West Coast didn’t come from a tanker. It occurred when the BC Ferries vessel Queen of the North foundered near Price Rupert with 1,750 barrels of fuel on board. ..
          Like many West Coasters, my wife and I treasure the unique and beautiful environment of the region, spending time kayaking its waters and anchoring our boat in its myriad coves.
          I’m not worried about adding one more oil tanker per day. But I do worry about the boat diesel, heavy bunker fuel and chemical pollutants pumped from the bilges of the other 6,000 large ships that travel our waters each year, ships that are not nearly as closely scrutinized as those 35 Kinder Morgan tankers are sure to be.”

        8. “A cruise ship going 3 km/h crashing into an oil tanker going 8 km/h .. give me a break !”
          I see Beyer is repeating falsehoods about ship speeds, despite already being corrected on this matter in the past. Why would someone continue to repeat inaccurate information about such an important topic? Makes ya think.

        9. @ Thomas
          As regurgitated repeatedly in response to your comments, the tar sands at best produce 8% of Canada’s GDP (lately it’s lower due to the low world oil price). Big hairy deal. As repeatedly said, all natural resources are worth only 1/5th of Canada’s GDP. As repeated many, many times, renewables are now competing in price with coal and oil regarding electricity generation, and their intermittency is largely mitigated with storage. And as repeated very recently, the latest research on solid state lithium ion batteries has seen huge success. And again and again, the world is starting to speed up breaking its dependency on oil and coal with the most recent policy announcements on burning fewer liquid petroleum transportation fuels. And also repeated like a broken record over and over, Kinder Morgan and the Alberta oil industry has yet to prove its theory that it will automatically garner premium prices on a low quality product simply by building another pipe to the coast by force over the objections of Metro Vancouver residents and leaders who will be the ones forced to assume the risks while Alberta and private corporations in Texas reap the benefits.
          Fossil fuels have had their day. It’s a new century where cleaning up the mess created by them will now be almost impossible.

        10. The article linked below is a breath of fresh air. He.
          Alberta scientist David Schindler sides with BC on Kinder Morgan. He conducted a landmark study on Alberta’s water resources a few years ago and estimated that cities that rely on glaciers for their water supplies (e.g. Calgary via the Bow River, Edmonton via the North Saskatchewan) will face a 50% reduction in flows by mid-century given the drastic rate of glacial melt in the Rocky Mountains due to climate change. Agriculture will fair just as bad. He also did another landmark study previously on pollutants leaching from the tar sands into the downstream stretches of the Athabasca River and accumulating in the drinking water supplies of First Nations communities. If memory serves, the Alberta government of the day tried to suppress that last report and that itself became news.
          If this were the beginning of the 20th century, we’d probably be protecting the buggy manufacturers and telling people the automobile will never replace the horse
          — Schindler on the protection of the oil industry over launching into renewables.

        11. Oil by rail is better ? Why ?
          It’s specifically NOT about protecting an industry, its about monetizing valuable stuff the world wants, and that others will sell for billions if we do not. We already screwed up the LNG party with excessive “consultation”. Who benefits from Canada’s energy wealth ?
          Those stats here show is pretty safe
          New legislation aimed clearly at disrupting Canada as a world leader in energy. A dumb move. “The only upside is that the federal government has also made it clear that new legislation will not be applied to any current federally approved projects such as, for example, the Trans Mountain Expansion, the Keystone XL Pipeline or Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project. This also appears to be the case for any pending LNG export projects which have already received federal approval, such as LNG Canada, but for which a final investment decision has not yet been made by the project proponents.” http://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2018/2/7-reasons-why-canadas-proposed-overhaul-energy-project-reviews-bad-business-gmp-firstenergy/
          Risks have to minimized obviously, i.e. pipelines and boats made as safe as technically possible, but it can’t be that a city like Burnaby or a province like BC puts up excessive hurdles for a vital NATIONAL project, ALREADY APPROVED by its governing body, the NEB. Is this still a country ? Why do we actually have a FEDERAL government then ? http://nationalpost.com/opinion/andrew-coyne-its-time-for-national-leadership-on-pipelines-thats-why-we-created-a-federal-government

        12. No, rail isn’t better. It is riskier. The only upside to it is that as production drops, there won’t be large investments in underutilized pipelines to write off.
          The goal is to leave a great amount of it in the ground. Read up on it.

        13. Why leave it in the ground if other nations don’t and sell it for billions to better their society? It’s in Canada national interest to monetize its land, resources below it, stuff on it or people living on it!
          It’s not only biblical to “subdue the earth” ie to make good use of it but also common sense. It’s in the economic self-interest of a nation called Canada.
          Should we thrive for other ways to heat or transport goods or people: asbsolutely. Yet we need to look at the many benefits and poverty reduction on a mass scale cheap energy and efficient engines have brought to 8B+ people who want to eat, move about, stay cool or warm, and progress. It’s not easily replaceable especially on scale with 1B vehicles moving about the earth today, and growing.
          Canada has already lost $117B says former NB Premier and former Amassador to the US, Frank McKenna http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-canada-has-lost-117b-due-to-pipeline-woes-says-mckenna

        14. Thomas, there are many intelligent people who have done the math and published their results on the economics behind bitumen and fracking for LNG. Try Robyn Allan, Andrew Nikiforulk, Thomas Homer Dixon, Jeff Rubin, David Hughes and Arthur Berman for starters.
          At only $1.5 billion to the Alberta treasury, Kinder Morgan is NOT in the national interest but is instead in Alberta’s interest. There is nothing national about it except for the desperate and inept attempts by Rachel Notley to “negotiate” KM using threats, hubris, arrogance, ridicule and condescension through the national media, which is duly lapping it up.
          With 3 1/2 million British Columbians living on or near the South Coast there is risk to tourism, the cruise ship industry, the film industry, fisheries, marine-based industry and recreation that has never been studied sufficiently.
          Another way of looking it, the industries and interests placed at risk are many, many times more economically valuable than the KM project.
          Remember that the Exxon Valdez plied the Salish Sea too. Its spill occurred at the northern end of its route, and therein spared the southern end in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands. Only 15% of the oil that spilled in Alaska has been cleaned up. The rest is still there leaching away.

        15. Exxon Valdez was in the 1980s. Not double hulled. No NAV system. Remote difficult terrain. No pilot on board. A drunk captain. That is NOT the case today. Read the article quoting McKenna, and ship safety by Gwyn Morgan. Smart, well informed men, not folks that hype misinformation into fear.
          Cars, airplanes, ships, lawn mowers, crosswalks, scissors, electricity, kitchen knives .. all risky yet used daily by billions of people.
          Our oil is sold to too few customer hence the massive discount. A gift to the US and it’s president, Donald Trump’s treasury of over $30B a year. Are we this dumb? Canada needs more Asian customers for its oil. It benefits all Canadians via federal income taxes and GST. Even BC. No one wants an oil spill. Who does? Risk mitigation is key, not irrational fear.

        16. Risk is created by consequence and probability. While probability is high for cars the overall consequence to humanity is generally low. A significant bitumen spill is very high consequence, even if the probability is low. This is what creates a high risk.
          You’re right that the valdez was a different regulatory and social environment, but you’re not accounting for the current one. Ships are owned(maintained) by one company, operated by another, and delivering product for a third. Crews are generally foreign, poorly paid, and worked very hard as they are exempt from local labour laws. Ships are maintained to the absolute minimum standards as margins are very thin.
          Regarding our “smart, well informed men”; I can’t find any record of his involvement in a marine company or shipping. I did find much info about his involvement with bribery and questionable international business practices, and his longtime employment with the oil industry. Not exactly a unbiased source…..
          As he states, we are still spilling over 40,000 barrels of oil per year. With the nav systems, double hulled tankers, etc how is this possible? If the answer is that some always gets spilled, that’s fine, but lets make sure we know how to clean it up.
          The BC government wants to do more research. Seems reasonable as we still have to live here after Alberta is done shipping oil. Instead of fighting, alberta could be asking what they can do to help expedite this research and allay the fears of BC residents. If there is a robust and effective plan backed up by real data and results, should be pretty easy to put this issue to bed based on the science of the spill recovery plan.
          Part of being a good neighbor is being respectful of your neighbors priorities, even if you think they’re a little bit silly.

    2. $500,000 from Ottowa for Pattulla bridge would mean $500,000 less from Ottawa for skytrain. , The optics of federal transit funding are better.

  3. ALL bridges (or tunnels), old or new, need tolling.
    It is indeed strange that neither Massey tunnel/bridge nor Patullo bridge seem to have federal $s attached to it.
    No one is honest with the electorate. New bridges (or tunnels) cost a lot of money, as does transit. Someone has to pay for it. Ideally the main users, ie cars and trucks, i.e. tolls or user fares. But hey, let’s pretend money is limitless. Let’s cut healthcare costs in half (although they should have been tripled) and lets eliminate Port Mann bridge, too. Let’s pretend Vancouver can live without oil and block a federally approved pipeline unconstitutionally anyway.
    The question to ask is “Why do we have such high deficits” ?

  4. Some questions I would ask are:
    -Why do the federal and provincial governments receive so much excess tax revenue from the people of Metro Vancouver that they feel the need to give some of it back to to fund local projects? Why aren’t tax revenues in balance so that the region has enough revenue to implement their own transportation priorities?
    – Why did the federal government fund a project to increase the capacity of the the Alex Fraser Bridge? Note that there are no improvements for transit or for cycling associated with the project.

    1. Alex Fraser bridge was built 20+ years ago. It is also a very high bridge, not suited for cycling. It is going to industrial areas & commercial mainly.
      Here’s the math why there is no bike lane: If an extra bike lane cost $25M extra, and using a 4% interest rate, or $1M annual interest cost, and we see 100 daily bikers or about 40,000 a year, are bikers willing to pay $25/crossing ? Hardly. Even with 100,000 annual bike crossing it would be $10/crossing.

      1. The bridge already has very narrow sidewalks which can be used for cycling. I use it quite often and I am a senior and ride an ordinary bike so if I can use the bridge, I am sure almost anyone should be able to – especially if they had an e-bike.. The problem is that the width is narrow and the approaches are horrid. If motorized lanes were similarly constructed, how much motor vehicle traffic would we see? Cycling is currently the most rapidly growing transportation mode in Vancouver. If we build a network of cycling highways, then growth of cycling would explode. And this would help reduce congestion on the Alex Fraser Bridge and throughout Metro Vancouver. Expanding motordom while restricting cycling is definitely the wrong approach. Unless we want to be stuck in the last century.

        1. One starts in dense areas .. not in the industrial burbs .. ie over highways and ugly industrial parks ..
          Plenty of pathways now in Richmond. Where is teh widening of the bridge from one to 2 lanes fro cars as one comes off Marine Drive to approach airport and Rochmond from S Vancoiver .. with a new bike bridge below ?
          This here bridge makes total sense to me from east side of Richmond (Queensborough to New Est) .. https://www.newwestcity.ca/database/files/library/Q2Q_Bridge_Brochure_2015_02_02.pdf What is the status here ?

        2. Thomas, there is not room for 2 lanes on the approach to Arthur Lang. For Q2Q – you are right that this is a huge gap. This would be a super important regional cycling connection. It would be part of the Experience the Fraser trail system and a great way of cycling and walking between New West and Queensborough. They have started a ferry service but it is only operational in the summer months. A bridge should be a huge priority, but we are still stuck in defalult motordom.

        3. Thomas, you should have read the article. The original proposal was for a low level bridge. There was too much traffic below it that it would have obstructed, needing to be opened too often. So they designed it to be higher. That caused the price to climb drastically. Also, it needed elevators to access it due to the height. It died due to budget constraints.
          Think back to all your calls for a low level bridge across False Creek, forgetting that the navigable waters act may come in to play. Projects based on plans not thought through may turn out not to be as simple as armchair designers imagine them to be.

        4. there were other factors at play. Elevators were planned because residents did not want a bridge ramp to interfere with their precious views – in spite of the fact that ramps were to be build oh public land. What finally scuttled the plans was the depth of silt which meant the requirement for super deep support structures. I am still hopeful that Q2Q will be built, however the current provincial budget does not give me much optimism that this will happen any time soon. Roads and bridges appear to be the priority for transportation.

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