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Nov 25,2010 Tri City News

Port Moody city council has failed to make a business case for why TransLink should build the Murray-Clarke Connector, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis told city council Tuesday.

And that left many councillors and Mayor Joe Trasolini asking: What about the business of our multi-million-dollar contracts?

Jarvis appeared before council to answer questions about Evergreen Line funding and the removal of the Murray-Clarke Connector from TransLink's 2011 supplemental budget.

The disputed overpass, which was intended to improve the flow of commuter traffic to and from the Barnet Highway, was long part of TransLink's plans for the region. But the $70-million overpass has since been dropped due to TransLink's budget troubles, which now have the transit authority struggling to scrape together funding for Evergreen.

Jarvis told PoMo council the Murray-Clarke Connector wasn't on TransLink's recently released list of 14 transit projects getting funding next year because Port Moody hadn't proved to TransLink that the project should be a priority.

"We're committed to starting the process with Port Moody staff to build the business case for Murray-Clarke Connector," Jarvis said, adding that such a case "is not in [TransLink's] files currently."

Mayor Trasolini shot back, saying,"If you need a business case, I don't know any better business case than a contract sealed with millions and millions of dollars."

That money is funding the city had already put up as its share of the TransLink expansion into the region with the understanding that the Murray-Clarke Connector was part of the Evergreen plan.

"This is a huge backward step," Trasolini told The Tri-City News after Tuesday's meeting. "We had the project approved, $50 million put in front of it, then all of a sudden it gets taken back.

"We've done our growth, we've doubled our population," he said, "and now the promised Murray-Clarke project is being reneged on."

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