Peeking over the Rockies

For those who love BC (and who doesn’t?), there is a new blog for you. The CCPA has started The Lead-Up, a blog about BC public policy with coverage of next week’s provincial budget, and all the political follies one might hope for with an election three months away and an economy in free-fall. A large swath of our BC research associates are blogging over there along with yours truly, covering all the key issues facing Lotuslanders.

Not convinced? How about this yarn: For years the BC government has promised to twin the Port Mann bridge, the span over the Trans-Canada Highway crossing the mighty Fraser River, connecting the growing outer suburb of Surrey to the Burrard peninsula where the City of Vancouver lies. Highly controversial, as noted in a previous post. Last week, the government announced, as it made its ceremonial shoveling to launch the project that the new bridge is no longer a twin but a ten-lane super-bridge that will replace the current bridge, which is about half-way through its useful life. The cost of this vote-getter is double the original estimates, now $3.3 billion (and likely much higher). And because the government insisted that this be a P3, ie privately financed, faced with the financial crisis, the government will now be providing one-third of the financing! The punchline: it will be the only tolled road or bridge over the Trans-Canada Highway, and it will be full with congestion within a couple years of opening as development moves up the Fraser Valley.

Yes, nothing but BC politics can provide this level of entertainment value. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; your eyes will widen with astonishment. And it is all here.

Before you dive in, you might be interested in a primer on the BC situation, so check out our CCPA-BC Reality Check, published today. We review the key economic and fiscal trends in anticipation of the budget.

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