Golden Ears Bridge could see new owners

Province, TransLink deciding in ‘months ahead’

TransLink has a bridge it may want to sell you.

Except you already own it.

The topic of moving the ownership of Golden Ears Bridge from TransLink and having the provincial government take ownership came up on Friday during a meeting of the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation.

Doing so could be a way of removing the albatross of debt that TransLink now faces without the revenue from the tolls that were removed Sept. 1 by the incoming New Democratic government.

According to the B.C. Green party, the lack of toll revenue is costing TransLink $120 million a year, while TransLink still owes $1.1 billion for the bridge’s finance and construction costs.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, however, said nothing’s been decided.

“TransLink continues to own, operate and maintain the Golden Ears Bridge,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, whose ministry is responsible for TransLink.

She expects a decision on bridge ownership in “the months ahead.”

However, the province has committed to putting $30 million a year into TransLink, to help the agency get its programs going. It’s also chipping in 40 per cent of the costs of Phase 2 of the mayor’s 10-year transportation plan.

The province and TransLink are working together to decide the bridge’s future, Robinson added in a statement.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker said the scenario was discussed as an alternative to the provincial government paying TransLink directly for the shortfall in toll money.

Becker said it doesn’t matter who owns the bridge, as long as whoever owns it shares in regional transportation planning.

“There’s only one taxpayer,” he said Tuesday.

Becker added that, so far, the province hasn’t taken the responsibility for regional transportation planning. He hopes under the new government, “hopefully sooner than later, there will be a much more intelligent regional planning function established,” so the province isn’t making announcements or decisions without consulting the Mayor’s Council or TransLink board, “which is goofy.”

He doesn’t see that requiring restructuring, or new agencies, but instead just sees the provincial government becoming more involved in regional transportation planning.

“From a transportation planning point of view, it still seems somewhat ludicrous that we have this patchwork of responsibilities between TransLink and the province.”

“Let’s come up with joint structures, ad hoc as though they may be, that are going to move regional transportation in Metro Vancouver into the 21st Century,” Becker said.

But building roads and bridges is an outdated approach to transportation, Becker added, because it creates more demand for the same, leading to an endless cycle of building roads and sprawl.

Generally, if there’s money available, it should be spent on improving public transit, he said.

Just Posted

Spartans clinch first place in Pacific Division with win over UBC

It was ‘a really physical battle in a crosstown rivalry’ coach says

Volunteers keep BC Farm Museum running like a well-oiled machine

Collection, started in 1953, continues to expand beyond museum’s capacity to contain it

VIDEO: G-Men seek revenge Saturday night in rematch at Langley Events Centre

Portland’s Winterhawks downed the Vancouver Giants 5-3 during a road trip down south.

UPDATE: Abbotsford murder victim was brother of slain gang leader

Mandeep Grewal gunned down Thursday, brother Gavin killed in North Van in 2017

Children’s author shares her story with West Langley Elementary students

Gabrielle Prendergast toured Fraser Valley schools and libraries from Oct. 15-19.

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

3 in serious condition after altercation on Granville strip: police

Patrol officers came upon the fight just after 3 a.m. on Granville Street near Helmcken Street

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Pedestrian rushed to Lower Mainland hospital after being hit by car

Friday night crash is latest in rash of collisions involving pedestrians in Surrey

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read