Kevin Falcon has doubled down on his pledge to cancel the approved Massey crossing project, keeping commuters stuck in traffic for an additional three years, say Richmond MLAs Aman Singh and Henry Yao.
Speaking to Glacier Media, Falcon says he will scrap all work done to date on the tunnel project and go back to the BC Liberal plan to build a toll bridge.
“My hope is that I can become premier before it’s too far along so that we can stop it before they get any construction work done on the actual tunnelling, and we can get back to building a bridge overpass,” Falcon said.
Falcon’s plan to go back to the 10-lane toll bridge would require a new environmental assessment and take nine years to complete. Starting that process in 2024 would delay completion of the crossing until 2033, three years later than the tunnel is set to open. It would also mean writing off millions of dollars that have already been committed to work on the tunnel.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie has said that any future delays on the project would be caused by Falcon’s decision to go backwards, “not the fault of the current government.”
“Kevin Falcon would delay a solution to this traffic by three years,” said Singh. “And he’s ignoring the consensus view in our community that the tunnel is the right project for our region. Building a tunnel addresses traffic while avoiding the negative impacts of a mega-bridge.”
Among the millions that would be wasted includes work on the Stevenson Interchange, which broke ground earlier this year.
“People in Richmond have been clear but Kevin Falcon wants to bulldoze over our community’s wishes,” said Yao. “Unlike the BC Liberal project, the tunnel will be completed without tolls, which would have hit drivers with higher costs.”
When he was Minister of Transportation, Falcon imposed tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, costing families who used these crossings $1,500 per year on average, and has repeatedly said imposing tolls was “the right thing to do.”