July 15,2009 The Now News
Another day, another Evergreen Line funding crisis. The difference is this most recent version of "We don't have the money, but someone else needs to supply it" will strike many Tri-Cities residents as exceptionally cruel. We're talking about the Port Moody commuters stuck in lines of traffic to cross the Moody Street Overpass, cut to just one lane following an unfortunate accident on the part of a truck driver.
While the city says the overpass could reopen in a matter of weeks, Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini is right when he says the situation highlights the need for TransLink to fund the Murray-Clarke Connector. Sadly, a TransLink spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that funds for the connector, slated to replace the aging overpass, are not in place.
"If there's no money, there's no money," Judy Rudin said.
It would appear that, with that project as well, there's just no money.
Sure, there's the $350 million Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced back in February.
That announcement was one stop short of a full-blown Stockwell Day waterskiing photo op, with Harper and Premier Gordon Campbell releasing the glorious details after disembarking from a SkyTrain car in Burnaby, like a couple of white knights riding in to save the transit-starved masses.
But alas, here we are five months later and there's still no sign of the Evergreen Line, although a project office TransLink has set up across from Coquitlam Centre taunts weary commuters. There's also $410 million in funds from the province and another $66.7 million from the feds.
But the question remains, will it ever get built? We weren't sure it would -- because of projected Olympic cost overruns and pressure from areas such as Surrey and Vancouver for transportation improvements -- and that was before the world's economy tanked.
Now, it's anyone's guess.