There’s enough money in the pot to design the Evergreen Line, buy property and carry out an environmental assessment review but not enough to start construction, a Ministry of Transportation official confirmed Wednesday.
Evergreen’s executive project director, Dave Duncan, told audience members at a meeting Wednesday in Port Moody that planning, property acquisition and other pre-construction technical work can take place because the federal and provincial governments have committed more than $800 million to the project.
“That money on the table now enables us to do that,” Duncan said.
But on the matter of TransLink’s missing $400 million and another $173 million that needs to be found, he said, “I’m not going to dance around that.”
He made assurances, however, that the province is working with TransLink to find a solution to the $400-million shortfall.
Meanwhile, TransLink’s council of mayors is expected to vote today (Friday) on supplemental funding for a 10-year plan that doesn’t include money for the Evergreen Line. It will be another year before TransLink gets another chance to vote on more money for the Evergreen Line.
Construction is supposed to start in December 2010 for a 2014 completion date.
But Duncan said that there are several options for closing the $173-million funding gap, including construction efficiencies, public-private partnerships, including land development, and innovation in the contracting mechanism. The province, the federal government and even TransLInk could also increase their contributions.
“Once we finalize that, we’ll be in a position to follow through with construction,” he said.
He was responding to audience queries about how the project can proceed when there are funding shortfalls.
Despite Duncan’s assurances, Brent Hilpert asked why Port Moody residents should believe the project is going ahead now when it has been talked about for 11 years.