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June 25,2010 The Now News

By Jennifer McFee, Coquitlam NOW June 25, 2010
Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini says TransLink “has left Port Moody with no other choice” but to consider civil action.


TransLink says there's no money to build the Murray-Clarke Connector, prompting the City of Port Moody to consider legal action over the issue.

Project discussions began in 1983, focused on widening the route to four lanes due to increased regional traffic.

Twenty-five years later, TransLink allocated $46 million towards the $50-million project, according to a Port Moody press release.

The city set aside the other $4 million and paid for preliminary design work to begin.

Yet TransLink's proposed 2011 base plan, released earlier this month, does not include the Murray-Clarke Connector as a priority.

Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini said council has now decided to look at legal options following years of frustration.

"Council has been very aggressive in advancing the design and construction of the Murray-Clarke Connector. We are ready to do our part," Trasolini said in a press release.

"We are, frankly, fed up with ongoing delays and TransLink's failure to follow through on its commitments."

TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie confirmed that no money is currently available to build the connector.

"Based on our base plan, which is going forward with the funding we have to us right now, we do not have the funding to build the Murray-Clarke Connector or to fund our portion of the Murray-Clarke Connector. We've informed the city of that," Hardie said.

"The Murray-Clarke Connector is simply one of a number of things that we've wanted to do but have not had the funding to do, simply based on our financial realities."

The base plan priorities are to sustain current services, keep equipment in good repair and to make system improvements when they're really necessary, Hardie said.

"But we don't have the funding for expansion, and unfortunately the Murray-Clarke Connector falls into the expansion category when it comes time to allocate the budget."

Like the Murray-Clarke Connector, the Evergreen Line is also considered an expansion project.

"TransLink is working right now to find ways of funding these things, particularly the Evergreen Line because it is such a high priority. Obviously with the presence of senior government funding, we want to be able to move on that project," Hardie said.

"So that is our focus right now -- to find a way to do the Evergreen Line, absolutely."

When it comes to the possibility of a legal battle between TransLink and Port Moody, Hardie remains mum.

"If something is going to go through a legal process, we wouldn't comment on that," he said.

However, Trasolini said the Murray-Clarke Connector remains at a standstill, so the city is seeking legal advice about making a claim against TransLink.

"TransLink has left Port Moody with no other choice," Trasolini said.

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