The Massey Tunnel replacement will cost taxpayers at least $3 billion and should be based on detailed documentation and sound analysis. The fact that FOI requests to both the Premier’s office and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure turned up no technical reports, cost analysis or business case information that supported the decision is concerning.
One would hope a decision to spend $3 billion would have a paper trail of some length. There is a trend in the way government handles FOI requests that is turning public information into an endangered species.
Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer picked it up:
Where is the long overdue Massey Tunnel business plan?
Worth underscoring, too, that a business plan and cost-benefit analysis for this project is long overdue. When Clark first touted replacing the Massey to the UBCM, the business plan was supposed to be completed and released for public discussion in spring 2014.
Outside the legislature Tuesday, Transportation Minister Todd Stone confirmed the sought-after business plan and cost-benefit analysis for the Massey replacement remains a work in progress. Due for release soon, he assured me.
Back in April he described to the legislature how project planning was in the technical and engineering phase, aiming to resolve numerous “scoping” questions:
“How high does the bridge have to be? How long does the bridge have to be? How wide should the bridge be? What amount of road work — which could include interchanges and widening of roads leading up to the bridge on both sides?
“This will then enable us to assign a price tag or a cost to the overall project. That will then lead us into a period of determining the options for financing this asset. Then we move into a construction phase … beginning, as we have committed, in 2017.”
Then he envisioned most of those questions would be answered by early summer. Now the scoping report and cost estimate will supposedly be out before the end of the year, meaning 18 months late.
Not that it matters.
Rather than answer, Virk launched into an attack on the independent MLA that lumped her with the Opposition New Democrats: “The member for Delta South has joined the say no-to-opportunities party now, say no to infrastructure, say no to bridges … The no, no, no party.”
Which is the answer the Liberals seem content to live with when it comes to transit.