The replacement of the Massey Tunnel with a new bridge on Highway 99 between Delta and Richmond is expected to be one of the centrepiece projects of the new 10-year provincial transportation plan.

B.C. transportation plan steers clear of ferry, bridge toll complaints

Minister Todd Stone seeks public input ahead of release of new 10-year provincial transportation plan

Transportation Minister Todd Stone is calling for public input to help guide a new 10-year provincial transportation plan he aims to unveil by the end of January.

The public consultations for the plan – dubbed “B.C. On the Move” – include meetings across the province with communities and stakeholders, a Twitter town hall and a dedicated website at engage.gov.bc.ca/transportationplan.

Stone said he expects local priorities coming forward may include calls for secondary road improvements, more highway passing lanes or four-lane sections, as well as enhancements to local transit or cycling routes.

The ministry is accepting submissions until Dec. 12.

Survey questions to the public released by the ministry emphasize highway improvements and ask nothing about coastal ferry service or fares – the main source of criticism for Stone in recent months. The ministry will instead rely on previous public consultations in 2011 by the B.C. Ferry Commissioner to guide the ferries portion of the new plan.

Nor does the document ask the public if they’re willing to pay more tolls to finance new bridges in Metro Vancouver.

Stone previously promised a tolling policy review, in light of probable new tolls on replacements of the Pattullo Bridge and Massey Tunnel, and a call from Metro mayors for tolling reform to allow road pricing to fund TransLink.

Tolling inequity is already a major complaint among Surrey-area residents, who feel singled out by tolls on the province’s Port Mann Bridge and TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge.

Stone said he remains committed to review the policy, which allows tolls only on new infrastructure where there’s a reasonable untolled alternative, but couldn’t give a timeline.

The replacement of the Massey Tunnel between Delta and Richmond with a new bridge is already in the technical design phase and is expected to be one of the plan’s centrepiece projects, along with the Cariboo Connector four-laning of 440 kilometres of Highway 97 from Cache Creek to Prince George.

It’s also expected to explore options for a future second crossing of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna.

Stone said a successful referendum on new taxes for TransLink in Metro Vancouver next spring would result in the mayors’ transit expansion plans being added into the provincial plan.

A referendum defeat, he said, would leave “other investments” identified as priorities in the Lower Mainland to be pursued under the plan.

Stone said he’s working collaboratively with the mayors to help them adjust their financial assumptions and design the question so the referendum – to be held via mail-in ballot – has the “maximum chance of success.”

A discussion guide (see below) for the consultations notes the province needs to replace aging transportation infrastructure, while preparing for an extra million B.C. residents by 2025 as well as the effects of aging demographics, growing demand for public transit and increased pressure on rural roads from resource development.

As for how to pay for new infrastructure, the ministry document says the province would “explore different funding options” while also maximizing federal contributions and partnering with First Nations, local governments and the private sector

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena said the questions posed by the province are “exceedingly superficial” and fail to address B.C.’s biggest transportation problems.

BContheMove DiscussionGuide Web Oct 6 2014

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Evacuation alert issued for City of Kimberley

Three hours after an evacuation order was issued for the St. Mary Valley, an evacuation alert was issued for the nearby community of Kimberley.

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Smoke scraps Nelson’s MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Most Read