Is the fledgling NDP government planning its first big ticket Take Out the Trash Friday on March 16?
- The Legislature is on a three-week, mid-session break, meaning the next Question Period isn’t until April 9. Politicians and their families are skedaddling next week for March break holidays.
- Premier John Horgan meets Washington Gov. Jay Inslee at 12:45 p.m. at the Vancouver cabinet office in Canada Place, to discuss the pie-in-the-sky idea of Vancouver-Seattle-Portland ultra-high speed rail.
- A 2 p.m. news conference is scheduled for TransLink headquarters in New Westminster, featuring minister responsible Selina Robinson, about the future of transit megaprojects in Metro Vancouver.
Could Robinson finally reveal TransLink’s dirtiest financial secret: The estimated costs of the Broadway subway and Surrey LRT?
On March 14, TransLink rejected theBreaker’s request under the freedom of information laws for copies of the TransLink business cases for the two rapid transit projects and the Pattullo Bridge (which the Ministry of Transportation recently took over, in order to lessen the capital cost pressure on TransLink).
TransLink said the 1,300-plus pages that it submitted late last year to the NDP government are covered by laws applying to cabinet secrecy and policy recommendations. It also fears disclosure would harm intergovernmental relations and TransLink finances.
The 2015-adjusted estimates were $2.53 billion for light rail transit in Surrey and $2.28 billion for a subway under Broadway. The Mayors’ Council was given new estimates in 2016 behind closed doors.
TransLink won’t say what they are.
TransLink has been planning for just a little over a year to release the figures.
A March 2, 2017 communication plan obtained by theBreaker said: “The latest work indicates that growing property costs around the Lower Mainland is driving up the cost of purchasing property for these projects. Original project cost estimates have also been affected by the significant drop in the value of the Canadian dollar since 2014 and charges to the scope of the projects.”