Sunday, April 19, 2009

Straight Nails It

B.C. Liberals say a $2-billion project is "on-budget"; it was $1.5 to $1.7 billion

For years, I would have to write that a transit project linking downtown Vancouver, Richmond and the airport would cost $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion.

I knew that the figure had been lowballed. But I didn't have a choice because TransLink repeatedly used this $1.5-billion to $1.7-billion figure in news releases concerning what was then known as the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver line. It's now called the Canada Line.

Five years ago, the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's also suggested there was "cost overrun potential" on the the $1.5-billion to $1.7-billion RAV line.

“The RAV project is a large, lengthy, and ambitious undertaking with cost overrun potential given the long-term and technologically complex nature of the construction project,” Standard & Poor’s stated.

Of course, the costs did go up. Now, the public is being quoted a $2-billion figure for a project that was expected to be built with a bored tunnel that would result in minimal intrusion on local merchants.

The $2-billion line includes 16 stations. The original $1.5-billion to $1.7-billion line was going to include 17 stations.

Of course, higher costs contributed to a decision to go instead with a cut-and-cover tunnel, which obstructed traffic and contributed to the bankruptcies of several businesses on Cambie Street.

So what does the B.C. Liberal platform say about the Canada Line?

It's "on-budget".

Gimme a break.


Anonymous said...

I believe the following should be of interest and was posted to the Straight's web site/ If Susan Heyes lawsuit is successful and more successful lawsuits follow, the potential cost for RAV may increase $50 million or more!


RAV was first budgeted to cost about $1.3 billion, but the cost escalated to such a degree that the scope of the project was reduced.

1) Cut and cover subway construction was substituted for bored tunnel. Cut and cover subway construction is a lot cheaper if the contractors can get away with not paying compensation to adjacent merchants and property owners.

2) A conventional metro was substituted instead of the proprietary SkyTrain metro system. This was because SkyTrain's Linear Induction Motor needs a steel reaction rail to operate and there was considerable savings (about $50 million) from omitting 40 km. of steel reaction rail.

3) The station platforms in the subway section can only accommodate 3 car trains. This means RAV's practical maximum capacity is around 10,000 persons per hour per direction. To increase capacity by enlarging stations will cost about $1 billion more and the cut and cover thing all over again!

As a side note, if LRT were to have been built on the Arbutus corridor, or any other corridor for that matter, maximum capacity would be about 20,000 pphpd! We have spent $2.5 billion (oops, thats #5) on a metro that has about one half the capacity of a $1 billion or less LRT line down the Arbutus)

4) There is single track operation along #3 road in Richmond, not only does this constrain capacity, it also means that the line will not be extended in our lifetime!

5) Several years ago, a forensic audit of RAV's costs by DoRAVright group, found that the cost of SkyTrain was almost $2.5 billion and there are some reports that the the actual cost has now exceeded $2.8 billion.

6) RAV is not a P-3 at all, because the province (taxpayer) has assumed risk. Already the Liberals have loaned the RAV consortium money so it can pay the government!

D.M. Johnston

Anonymous said...

Yes - thanks to Gordon Campbell we have a new "Standard of Poor" for the hard working, tax paying families that are the heart and soul of this province. Our small businesses. It's called "going for broke" along the Canada Line.

If they get away with this outrage they can and will do it anywhere they please - like along Broadway.

The BC Liberals have P3'd all over the Canada Line merchants - all over the people of BC.

- Reward their friends with land deals and ad contracts and very large cheques.

- Hammer down anyone who has the courage and desperation to get in your way.

- Write legislation to support your future devious plans

Whatever the outcome of the legal fight the businesses have launched - this government has set a new Standard of Poor for BC small businesses.

Campbell doesn't give a damn - unless it's one accross a river he and his friends can profit from.

People have had enough of this pandering arrogance. We will run him out of town on his own rails - BC Rail and Canada Line.

Anonymous said...

David, Charlie Smith is the only reporter in the city that has taken time to understand and study the 'transportation' issue. This is something that other reporters just have not done.

Charlie knowledge can ferret out the stuff and nonsense spewed out by Transclunk and it's various shills it employs.

RAV is a case in point and Charlie did a satirical piece on RAV a few years ago that today scarily reflects what probably will happen.

How Campbell and Falcon can keep a straight face when they utter such nonsense is beyond belief. Example: RAV will take 200,000 single car trips of the roads each day, claimed by Gordo and Falco, is telling. It's just ain't so! Only the most devious of confidence tricksters can keep from bursting out laughing at such drivel.

I phoned the NW newsroom complaining about this and was told that the Premier doesn't lie!

So ends the reign of the once mighty NW'98 as a honest broadcaster; no wonder they are falling in the ratings.

The entire RAV episode needs to be investigated by the RCMP Commercial Crimes Unit and when Susan Heyes decision come down, that very well may happen!

The question is, will Wally Awful allow that to happen or will he stone-wally that as well?

D. M. Johnston

Keith said...

At the opening of the Expo Line in 1986, one of the Social Credit ministers boasted that Sky Train would remove 8000 cars from the road.
Has anyone noticed there are 8000 fewer cars on the road?

Anonymous said...

The Socreds (Zalm, McCarthey, et al) also said that SkyTrain could carry 30,000 passengers per hour per direction. It seems today, we are spending over $1 billion to retrofit SkyTrain so it can carry a mere 20,000 pphpd!

Presently, SkyTrain is carrying 10,000 pphpd (questionable) and ridership increases are due to cascading more bus onto the metro!

With the Premier running the show all I see is billions of dollars being spent on a wet squib, while other regions are bedding for light rail.

This was all predicted by the late Des Turner in 1986!

Norman Farrell said...

The longer a politician stays in office the more he or she becomes comfortable with dishonesty. In Canada, we have enabled one man political rule so that every important decision is taken by the first minister's office. Inevitably, unlimited power allows greed and arrogance to overtake any sense of morality. In Campbell's case, he had rather low ethics when he entered political service. If you examine his term as Vancouver mayor, you will find friends and insiders being enriched.

He has been a scoundrel for some time but he looks after the rich and powerful and it is profitable for them to keep mouths shut and hands open.