Well friends, the mouthpiece for Translink Drew Snider has been on the news of late,particularly talking about the Golden Ears bridge, apparently the bridge has not met revenue projections,Drew Snider blamed the economic downturn and claimed indirectly that people can`t seem to find the elusive bridge,let`s crunch the numbers.
First off, the claim by the Habitual lying Campbell Government that Construction of the Golden Ears bridge was on budget is false, it didn`t cost the $800 million they claimed,the price was actually $1.2 billion dollars.
A little background information is required, under the original terms of the deal between Translink and the builder the builder would get paid back for the build through tolls, but, it wasn`t until the 11th hour when the builder and Translink changed the deal, it`s obvious now that the builder knew it had zero chance to recoup the build cost let alone make money on the tolls,so the deal was changed, under the new terms of the deal Translink would pay the builder a set fee schedule, a fee schedule that started very low in the first year and spirals upwards at an alarming rate.
Before I get into the fee schedule I would like to quickly discuss what Drew Snider said yesterday.
Here are some Drew Snider quotes from yesterday.
" Because of the global economic turn down we didn`t realize our traffic forecasts" and this..."We expect that when the economy picks up so will toll revenue".....and more "We aren`t anticipating raising tolls at this time" and Drew Snider continued..."We are planning on advertising the bridge" snip.
Well well well, those were the statements, first off, wasn`t the GVRD going great guns with all the Olympic activity? Secondly, what kind of fool does Drew Snider take the public for, is there anyone who doesn`t know where the secret entrance to the Golden Ears bridge is? I thought everyone knew that you drive through the bat cave, turn right at the fortress of solitude,then a hard left at wonder woman way.......Sheesh, I reference comic books because Drew Snider is definitely living in fantasy land, although I don`t blame Drew Snider, Gordon Campbell`s public affairs bureau are the idiots behind these news releases, and of course Canwest Global/CTV or CKNW Stooges merely pump out the garbage without question, the real truth of the matter is the Golden Ears bridge is a financial disaster growing by leaps and bounds!
Now according to Drew Snider the Golden Ears bridge from June 20 (Grand opening) to the first of the year the bridge lost $2.1 million dollars.
The Fee Schedule___________________________________________________
- Translink will pay to the builders from June/20/2009 through to December 31/2009 ...$500.000,00 (1/2 million dollars) per month,plus a monthly maintenance fee of $316.000,00.
- From Jan 1/2010 through to June 30/2010 Translink will pay the builder $1.5 million dollars per month plus a monthly maintenance fee of $316.000,00 dollars.
- From July 1/2010 through to June 30/2011 Translink will pay the builder $3 million dollars per month plus a monthly maintenance fee of $316.000,00 dollars.
- From July 1/2011 though to June 30/2015 Translink will pay the builder $4 million per month plus a monthly maintenance fee of 316.000,00 dollars.
- From July 1/2015 through to ...................2040 translink will pay the builder $4.7 million dollars plus a monthly maintenance fee of $316.000,00 dollars.
And we can project that between July 1/2010 and June 30/2011 Translink will lose $34 million dollars,or let me re-phrase,will have to pay the builder $34 million dollars over and above toll revenue.
And we can project that after July 1 /2011 Translink will lose $46 million dollars per year until ........Until the Port Mann tolls start up, at that time the losses will subside somewhat.but the bridge will still lose millions and millions per year for decades.
Now I expect that the Fine folks of Langley and Maple Ridge are going to be in for some shocking Toll increases,the tolls are already pegged to inflation,in other words the tolls will rise each year to keep up with inflation, but those increases will be but 1% to 3% per year, not earth shattering numbers, but unscheduled toll increases are going to be put on the bridge,that or Translink will fry with debt, also yesterday Drew Snider claimed that Translink`s total revenue losses for the year were $68 million dollars, a big chunk of that loss went to subsidize the money losing Canada line, that boondoggle is for another day, one Gordon Campbell financial disaster per week is all I can handle!
Back to the boondoggle Golden ears bridge, Drew Snider can blame the bogey man or claim the entrance to the bat cave is the reason revenue projections are way off all he wants, he can leave trails of bread crumbs leading to the bridge,it won`t help, I visit Maple ridge every month, my friends refuse to use the bridge,they can`t afford it,those who can put their backs up and drive around anyway.
I`m going to give you a little friendly advice Drew Snider, I hope you`re listening Gordon Campbell,you too Shirley Bond, what you must do, don`t shoot the messenger folks but here`s the deal...
Remove the tolls on the Golden Ears bridge(sort of).....Add tolls on every main bridge in the GVRD, $1 dollar per crossing, maxing out at $3 dollars per day,in other words the most people will be billed per month is $100 dollars, but, at least everyone driving will pay,even the rich boys on the north shore, and while your at it,put a toll on the sea to sky highway(past horseshoe bay,but not for local residents,for the rich ski crowd) What`s fair is fair.....I guarantee that if you spike the tolls on the Golden Ears bridge cars driving on that bridge will be rarer than spotted owls or Vancouver island Marmots!
The Straight Goods
Cheers-Eyes Wide Open