I must be missing something here. The article is noting a $173 million dollar shortfall on funding. It’s great that the federal government is pitching in $350 million for the now $1.4 billion project, but why can’t the governments pitch in a little more for their portion.
A $173 million shortfall would be significant given that TransLink is expecting a $100 million shortfall just based on current operating levels. We already have problems paying for what we have working, now we could have more problems with a new SkyTrain Line.
As mentioned before, SkyTrain technology is probably one of the more expensive technologies out there. The technology is solely owned by Bombardier and there is no competition in new contracts. There can only be one contract and it has to be with Bombardier.
Having the SkyTrain technology is good in some ways in that it gives continuity to the system, but we definitely do pay a price for it. Also, don’t forget that SkyTrain can have some serious problems during our winter storms. However, sometimes those problems may be more of a product of TransLink and Rapid Transit BC and their modus operandi than the technology itself.
Obviously, taxes are one way to fund these megaprojects, but maybe there must be other ways. Perhaps with all the developers interested in building around rapid transit stations, we can take a portion of that money and put it into transit. It would be similar to how the City of Vancouver takes money from some of their projects and puts it towards parks and recreation in the city. The developers could pay into a Developers’ Transit Fund Pool. However, given current economic times and unstable projects, this may or may not work at this moment.
$173 million seems to be a small amount to hammer out between the governments. If a private partmer comes on board, who knows what risk will be introduced. As we have learned from the Olympic Village project, sometimes the additional risk can be dangerous.