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The Gateway Program is a $3.0 billion regional transportation project for Greater Vancouver that is being run by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation. On January 31, 2005 the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation introduced the Gateway Program as a means to address growing congestion. The scope of the Gateway Project includes building a second bridge to double the capacity of the Port Mann Bridge.

$300 million of the project is a dedicated contingency in case it goes out of budget.

Completion: 2012








Port Mann Bridge/Highway 1
- $1.5 billion

The program includes a plan for the Port Mann Bridge to be expanded from 4 lanes to 8 lanes to alleviate congestion and frequent delays. Currently, the Port Mann Bridge is congested 90% of the time between the hours of 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the definition of "congested" has not been specified. Since 1985, traffic on the bridge has increased 65% from 77,000 vehicles per day to 127,000.

Two of the new bridge lanes would be for HOV as part of the BC Ministry of Transportation's goal to expand Greater Vancouver's HOV network from the McGill Street to 216th street in Langley, a distance of 37 kilometres. Upgrades to interchanges are intended to increase safety, improve connections between municpalities, and reduce backups onto local streets. The Gateway Program also includes a $50 million investment in cycling infrastructure including separated cycling lanes across the Port Mann Bridge.

The new bridge is designed to be able to accommodate LRT in the future. In addition, the Port Man twinned bridges may be tolled to help pay construction costs.














South Fraser Perimeter Road
- $800 million

A new 4 lane highway approximately 40-km long, 80km/h route along the south side of the Fraser River extends from Highway 17 in southwest Delta to meet up with the Golden Ears Bridge connector road. It would help the rapidly growing port facilities, rail and industiral yards.

Opponents argue that this route will increase pollution near residential neighbourhoods and schools; destroy the hydrology of Burn's Bog, a threatened and sensitve ecosystem; and pave over valuable farmland.












North Fraser Perimeter Road/Pitt River Bridge and Marry Hill Interchange
- $400 million

The North Fraser Perimeter Road is a set of proposed improvements to existing roads along the north shore of the Fraser River, to provide an efficient, continuous route between the Queensborough Bridge in New Westminster and TransLink’s new Golden Ears Bridge in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows. Proposed upgrades would improve safety and reliability along this key goods movement corridor and better serve growing communities in the northeast sector of Greater Vancouver.

The Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange Project includes a new bridge to replace the existing swing bridges and an interchange to replace the existing Lougheed Highway and the Mary Hill Bypass intersection. The project is a stand-alone component of the North Fraser Perimeter Road Project.

The new cable-stayed bridge will be located between the existing bridges and will have 3 lanes of westbound traffic and 4 lanes of eastbound traffic on opening day. It will also provide up to 16 metres of vertical marine clearance, as well as providing facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge will be designed to accommodate different lane allocations and future light rapid transit.

The existing intersection at Lougheed Highway and Mary Hill Bypass will be replaced with a grade-separated interchange with on and off ramps that would allow for free-flow of traffic, while also providing for future connection to the Fremont Extension, to support development in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam.

Combined with the new bridge, these improvements will allow for the elimination of the current counterflow system.

The project is being funded by the federal and provincial governments. As part of its recent Asia-Pacific Gateway & Corridor Initiative, the Government of Canada has committed $90 million in funding for costs associated with the construction of the bridge and a new grade-separated interchange at Lougheed Highway and Mary Hill Bypass. The Province is providing $108 million.






Official website: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/gateway/



Websites against the Gateway plan:
http://gatewaysucks.org/
http://www.livableregion.ca/
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Problem isn’t fixed by doing more of what created it


Brian Lewis
The Province

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Gordon Price is a Simon Fraser University professor of regional planning who also served six terms on Vancouver City Council — but I think he’s missed his calling.

The 57-year-old should have been a chef because, as a panellist yesterday in a Greater Vancouver Regional District-sponsored meeting on transportation south of the Fraser River, he displayed a talent for stirring pots.

“The Gateway proposal, as it currently stands, will fail,” he said.

“We know it will fail but we’re going to do it anyway,” he told mayors, councillors, bureaucrats and ordinary citizens who gathered for the discussion at a Surrey golf course.

When Price dropped that gem, his co-panellists — Fraser Port Authority president Allen Domaas and B.C. Trucking Association boss Paul Landry — grimaced like any golfer would when the tee shot finds water.

That’s because their organizations have a huge stake in seeing the multibillion-dollar Gateway Project completed.

Greater Vancouver’s ports and its trucking industry play a vital role in this region’s economy — and the national economy, for that matter — and completing mega-transportation projects such as the Golden Ears Bridge, the South Fraser Perimeter Road and twinning the Port Mann Bridge under the Gateway label are all seen as vital to our growing trade with Asia.

Gateway is also being billed as a solution to regional traffic congestion and as a way to make the commuting lives of those who live south of the Fraser much easier.

But Price says allowing the ports, truckers and the B.C. government’s backers on Howe Street the most input on these projects is like letting the fox design the henhouse’s security system. Nor has there been enough input from other public stakeholders.

“Never let the guys who drive the big trucks design your region, because they’ll only do what works well for them,” he warned.

And this, Price maintains, is what has happened to Gateway.

He says it’s being pushed through by the B.C. government as individual projects with little focus on the overall consequences. And many of the negative impacts will occur south of the Fraser, especially in Delta, where a major port expansion is already under way.

“I recognize that in a growing region like ours you have to make a commitment to [building] infrastructure, but simply expanding the road system, even with modest tolls, will only result in people becoming more car-dependent,” Price said.

“The new capacity will only be quickly filled up, so instead of four lanes of trucks stuck in traffic you’ll have eight lanes of trucks stuck in traffic.” He also said before we spend billions expanding the regional road system, we should improve efficiencies in the current system.

Nor have Gateway planners taken into account the consequences of climate change, the increased concerns about fossil-fuel emissions or the loss of local farmland to make way for new roads, he added.

“In the end, you don’t solve a problem by doing more of what created that problem in the first place,” Price said.

Yes, I think the professor would have been a dandy chef because he cooks up some tasty food for thought.




Translink Report: Commuters will abandon transit and take cars

19 July 2006

VANCOUVER – Today the Translink board voted to support the provincial government’s Highway1/ Port Mann Bridge expansion plans, despite its own study that found transit ridership would decrease if the roadway was twinned, said the Livable Region Coalition, a group of concerned citizens, city planners, environmental organizations and transportation experts.

“This is a huge U-turn for the GVRD,” said Ian Bruce, climate change campaigner with the David Suzuki Foundation. “We’re heading down the same congested road as cities like Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and Toronto.”

If the highway1/Port Mann project goes ahead as planned, Translink staff stated, ridership on the SkyTrain Expo line would decline by as much as 500 trips during the morning rush hour, while the proposed Evergreen Line would lose as much as 5% of its potential commuters. Construction of the Evergreen Line is already in jeopardy due to a lack of funding commitments from the B.C. government. A forecast of lower ridership numbers as a result of Hwy1/Port Mann expansion means operating costs for this line would be more expensive than budgeted for.

“Putting a priority on more roads makes future rapid transit projects like the Evergreen Line less feasible, if not impossible,” said David Fields, Transportation Campaigner with Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC).

The project has yet to go through an environmental assessment and will go before the GVRD board this fall.
 

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This project makes me nervous...I'm definitely more of a transit guy than a highway guy, and like the Translink report suggests, the Gateway project undermines the success of its own transit projects.
 

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i think if the powers in charge had not neglected infastructure for so long we wouldn't be where we are today and this is long overdue

once its complete than they can concentrate on transit projects

i really don't see people abandoning skytrain to take their cars - are they really saying all these people work in the downtown core?

parking rates are ridiculous not to mention gas
 

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I don't agree with Gateway as a rule but with 2 exceptions. They should extend HOV to atleast 200th with special access for buses so buses could actually use the bridge including commuter buses to downtown. Right now due to the traffic they can't due to not being able to keep any kind of schedule.
Second I strongly agree with the South Perimeter highway but only as far as Nordel and then widen River Road not thru the Delta. It is essential to have a fast route to the Port and Twassen. Transit is not an otion for people getting to the Island and transports need a fast route to get to the Port and the Island. Right now all the transports have to go thru urban areas with all the traffic, unsafety, pedestrian inaccessiblity, smog, and noise that comes with them. It will get the transports out of residential areas and funnel them thru a fast industrial/port corridor. f
 

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i think if the powers in charge had not neglected infastructure for so long we wouldn't be where we are today and this is long overdue

once its complete than they can concentrate on transit projects

i really don't see people abandoning skytrain to take their cars - are they really saying all these people work in the downtown core?

parking rates are ridiculous not to mention gas
People will abandon Skytrain for cars because, from Surrey and beyond, bus service (to get to Skytrain) is terrible. I drive this bridge almost every day because it's so bad. Just toll the bridge (without expansion) and buy some more Nova buses with the cash to improve bus service so I can take it without having to wait a long time only to be passed up by a full bus. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Toll revenues beckon to shortlisted builders of Port Mann project

Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, August 07, 2007

VICTORIA - The B.C. Liberals have settled on three potential finalists for the Highway 1/Port Mann bridge project, including some of the leading builders and operators of toll roads in the world.

All have since posted the required $1-million, nonrefundable bond to be included in the final round of consideration on the estimated $2-billion project.

The short list is headed (alphabetically) by the Connect BC Development Group.

The main player is Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure Group, which is already a private partner in building and operating the Sea to Sky Highway improvement project here in B.C.

Joining with Macquarie in the bid is Transtoll, also Australian, a designer and operator of electronic tolling systems.

Second on the short list is Gateway Mobility Partners.

Cintra, a Spanish firm, is one of the partners. It operates toll roads in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the U.S., as well as Highway 407, the 100-kilometre electronic toll highway around Toronto.

Skanska, a Swedish-based developer and builder, is the other player in this consortium. It operates a toll road in Chile and public-private partnership highways in Norway and Finland.

Lastly, there's the Highway One Transportation Group. The lead player is Germany's Bilfinger Berger group, builder of all manner of infrastructure, including transportation projects, offshore oil platforms, schools and wind farms.

Bilfinger is already heavily involved in B.C., with build-and-operate agreements on the new Golden Ears Bridge and the widening of Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon.

For this project, Bilfinger teamed up with Transurban, another Australian firm specializing in developing and operating toll roads in its home country and the U.S.

While all three were strong contenders for the short list, there are some notable absentees, including Canada's SNC/Lavalin.

The firm was expected to put in a bid, having already staked out its turf with the public-private partnership on the Canada Line rapid transit project.

But it did not make the final cut when the Liberals shortened the list of contenders to three from six last week.


Next step will see the three finalists prepare their detailed proposals for submission early next year.

The plan calls for building a second span of the Fraser alongside the Port Mann, widening some 37 kilometres of the Trans-Canada, reconstructing a dozen-and-a-half intersections and installing the sophisticated electronic tolling system.

It is cast as a public-private partnership, builders to underwrite construction on their own, then recover their costs over a 35-year operating agreement while providing maintenance over the same period.

The government is looking for a creative approach to construction, new ideas in traffic management, and other innovations.

Vetting will be done by the Ministry of Highways and Partnerships B.C., the provincial agency for overseeing P3s.

The process will be scrutinized by an independent fairness adviser, put there to oversee the public interest in equal treatment of all three bidders.

The B.C. Liberals are perhaps hoping to avoid the kind of controversy that has dogged one of these players in Texas. Cintra is embroiled in controversy over its contract for the Trans-Texas Corridor, because of allegations of too-close ties to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The current plan here in B.C. calls for the selection of a preferred bidder in the spring of 2008, a closing round of negotiations over the summer and a final contract signed in the fall.

Along the way, the road-and-bridge widening will also have to secure approval from the provincial environmental assessment office.

That process is slated to get underway next month, with a call for public comment. But the B.C. Liberals are treating the outcome as a near-inevitability, having already advised potential bidders that "certification is anticipated by early 2008."

Construction is slated to begin in late 2008, as per Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon's promise that we'll see "pilings rising from the river" before the May 2009 election.

Completion is set for 2013, whereupon the winning builder will inherit the 35-year operating agreement.

The key there is obviously the cash flow from tolls, to be set by the province, which also intends to hold back a share for itself.

Figure a minimum of $3 for starters. Taking current traffic levels of 127,000 vehicles a day and allowing for some growth, the tolls should bring in $2.5 million to $3 million a week, as much as $150 million a year.

Extrapolate those figures over the life of the operating agreement and you can see why there was so much private interest in this project.

But once the final bidding round is completed, it will be up to the government to demonstrate what benefits accrued to taxpayers and the traveling public from this ambitious exercise.

[email protected]


© The Vancouver Sun 2007
 

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Oh great, another of those PPPs that will end up looting the public purse by "guaranteeing" profits. Why do the Liberals must insist on PPPs on everything that's being built? There should be a law stipulating that there are no PPPs unless it can be proven that it's much cheaper to the tax payer than using only the public money.
 

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Uh, from the latest article that Mr. X posted it sounds like the PortMann/Highway 1 portion of this project is going full speed ahead? That's scary to me considering the earlier articles where Translink stated the impact that will have on transit ridership.
 

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parking rates are ridiculous not to mention gas
Compared to who? Columbians, Americans, Qataris? Canada has some of the cheapest gas on the planet. It's an absolute steal. $1/litre gas doesn't even come close to reflecting it's real price to the planet. I feel like I'm getting a free ride when I fuel up here.
 

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I don't mind PPP and tolls to pay for them. User pay.............if you don't want to pay then take transit. That said they must get VERY frequent bus service to Lougheed and commuter buses to downtown.
One problem is that after the project is paid for they will continue to toll it for a revenue service a la Coquhalia.
 

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^^ One problem is the "guarantees" the government gives to the consortium, which only causes inconvenience to commuters and taxpayers. For the Canada Line, Translink "guaranteed" to InTransitBC that they would be "guaranteed" a certain amount of profit (which will come from fares) while they run it for 35 years. If Canada Line usage is more than projected, Translink pockets the remaining cash. However, if Canada Line usage is LESS than projected, Translink will have to PAY InTransitBC the shortfall, and this could end up costing taxpayers millions.

Some toll highways in Australia have already seen this problem: the government gives a private company the concession for a toll road. There is one suburban highway in Sydney that saw such low usage that the toll revenues did not even finance the interest on the loans, so the government ACTUALLY CLOSED PARALLEL ROADS TO FORCE PEOPLE TO USE THE TOLL HIGHWAY. This still didn't work, and the company fell into receivership, and taxpayers picked up the tab. I fear a future BC government that faces a fiscal deficit might, say, narrow the Patullo bridge to force people onto the Port Mann.
 

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Since transit is generally a money losing operation, the real comparison would be how the payments to InTransitBC compare to the losses that Translink would suffer if it operated the line itself. I suppose one operational disadvantage is that costs cannot be spread across multiple lines (i.e. Expo Line subsidizes operation on the M-Line to break even overall).
But the real advantage of the P3 is the upfront funding of the line - InTransitBC is providing $700M of the cost of building the line - more than any one governmental agency.
Trying to come up with that much of a "funding gap" from government sources would have been insurmountable - just look at the Evergreen Line and its $400M funding gap.
If InTransitBC went bankrupt (after completion of the line), I'm not sure if taxpayers would be on the hook for much (it would be different if it went bankrupt during construction). The Canada Line will be owned by Translink once built (I don't know how the Austrailian highway project would have been structured), so on bankruptcy, Translink wouldn't have to "buy-back" the line from a trustee in bankruptcy, it would have to find a new operator. InTransitBC's creditors would end up losing big time, but Translink wouldn't be a creditor of InTransitBC.
Granted, the two pension funds that invested in InTransitBC to make up the funding shortfall would be creditors, but that was their independent investment decision.

BTW - the Patullo is Translink jurisdiction, the Port Mann is Provincial jurisdiction. That's why the Province hasn't fixed the Patullo.
 

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I am going to weigh in and add that I am generally not very concerned with the future obligations component of P3s. While the SkyTrain Canada Line contract includes more than a billion in future obligations to SNC-Lavalin/Serco (InTransitBC) for operating the line, the exact figure is going to be on-par with the operating costs that Translink operating subsidiary "SkyTrain" would incur if it were operating the line. The proverbial electric bill will be paid to keep the lights on. However the cheque will have to be slightly larger to cover SNC-Lavalin/Serco's guaranteed return-on-investment profits versus having it sent directly to BC Hydro by Translink.

The higher operating costs are the trade-off of going straight to the private equity market via a private sector broker, in this case SNC-Lavalin/Serco which simultaneously has a proportionally poorer credit rating than government and a profit imperative for investors.

Instead of using traditional governmental finance tools to front-load the cost of buying the SkyTrain Canada Line and amortizing the cost over a long period of time at a low rate, the governmental powers that be opted to offload a large component of the cost of buying the line and accept higher amortization costs in the form of an operating concession. The public put a chunk of the line on someone else's credit card and we agree to pay them back with interest plus something extra to show our gratitude for helping out in a pinch, though I'm still at a loss to identify the pinch.

Delivering transportation or infrastructure by P3 is an altogether different beast than delivering health care or education services by P3. The former is a fairly simple proposition that can be predicted and cost out while the latter is inherently unpredictable.

My real concern about the SkyTrain Canada Line contract is that we, as the public, don't know a lot of the important operational details yet. Such as whether the line will be branded "SkyTrain" and conceptually integrated into information materials. I am choosing to call it the SkyTrain Canada Line to start reinforcing that concept regardless of whether it is official policy. Another issue is who will decide when to add more service and who will pay for it. When the point is reached when the initial 20 trains are deemed insufficient to meet demand, will SNC-Lavalin/Serco proportionately share in the cost of procuring new trains? If Translink buys the trains will it have to increase the value of the operating concession to account for the additional maintenance and operational costs of a larger fleet? Who will pay to expand the OMC yard to accommodate more trains, and who will decide when to retire or retrofit the original trains? Lastly, what are the conditions whereby the operating concession can be cancelled due to a potential lack of compliance?

Serco has had considerable success operating the Docklands Light Railway in London during its 7 year concession but it was Transport for London that instigated extensions, though I'm unsure how the operating concession agreement was modified with the changing line. One key facet of the Dockland Operating Contract was that Serco’s targets would increase over the life of the concession rather than stay static.
 

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Good querstions - I think they fall into the realm of "difficult to forecast" so I suspect they would be dealt with as they arise on a case by case basis. i.e. capital contributions to buying more cars would depend on the number of cars (i.e. size of order & price). Presumably, it would be in InTransitBC's interests to encourage ridership, but to achieve efficiency, I suspect that it would always try to keep ridership at the upper end of the "sardine factor", although passenger comfort is a factor in their performance review (as posted in the redacted Concession Agremeent on the Canada Line website).

Also, I found this news release on the Woolrich Arsenal extension to the Docklands Light Railway in London, UK. It is a P3 where the private partner does not operate the line - presumably because of the operational agreement with Serco and that the work is an extension of an existing line - seems a bit odd, but this structure could work for the Evergreen Line.

The concessionaire, WARE, will be responsible for designing, financing, constructing and maintaining the Extension and DLR will make payments to WARE for every day that the Extension is available for DLR to operate train services. WARE was selected in December 2004 as the preferred bidder following a competition between four consortia.
http://developments.dlr.co.uk/extensions/woolwich/details.asp?id=21
 

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^^^^^^^
Urbanfar89........I appreciate what you are saying about the Sydeny experience I don't think a true anology can be drawn from it. This is not a regular road but a bridge with almost no alternative to get to Vancouver except the oversapacity bridge into NuWest which the gov't has said it could also be tolled. There will be no alternative routes for people who want to avoid the toll.
 

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well it would be free for pedestrians right... and theres always transit..

look at it this way. people move to surrey so they can afford a house but they end up incurring huge transportation expenses. people could live in vancouver and bike or take the bus saving thousands a year and being better off overall. im all in favour of the tolls if it will encourage people not to live in surrey. and if they choose to live there at least they will be paying the true social costs of our road system. lets raise these gas prices aswell!
 

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Compared to who? Columbians, Americans, Qataris? Canada has some of the cheapest gas on the planet. It's an absolute steal. $1/litre gas doesn't even come close to reflecting it's real price to the planet. I feel like I'm getting a free ride when I fuel up here.
that was in reference to people who would abandon transit and drive downtown and pay to park

i was pointing out that they are much better off using skytrain instead of driving
 
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