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» babble   » from far and wide   » bc, alberta, saskatchewan   » Gordo: Stark Raving RAV!!!

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Author Topic: Gordo: Stark Raving RAV!!!
West Coast Lefty
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posted 12 June 2004 02:50 AM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just when it seemed that the RAV debate in Greater Vancouver was cooling down and Translink was going to focus on rational, long-term planning for rapid transit, Gordo's latest lunacy hits the fan. Now this control-freak nutcase wants the province to take over the RAV line and will force the taxpayers of BC to "assume all the risks" for this P3 boondoggle.

So, now the "heartlands" will have to pay for Gordo's own version of the fast-ferries At least with the ferries, we eventually sold them and moved on. RAV would be with us for 30-40 years of poor transit planning, lack of accountability and taxpayer dollars flowing to private companies while the public bears the brunt of the inevitable cost overruns. Along with the Olympics, this is another "poison pill" that will be dumped on the NDP if they win the next provincial election in May 2005.

Luckily, Carole James is not buying this snake oil, and hopefully the Translink board will stand firm as well and refuse to drink the Campbell Kool-Aid! The province cannot micro-manage rapid transit decisions in the Lower Mainland, that's why Translink was created in the first place.


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 12 June 2004 06:40 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Point of order Translink doesn't really manage the transit needs of the region any better than BC Transit ever did. And with Translink the dis-functional GVRD is supposed to fund the lion's share of the thing while the Province get's to just sit back. What a boon for the taxpayers of the region....NOT! I mean jeez Doug McCallum can't manage his way out of a wet paper bag let alone the Transit and road improvement projects for a region of 2 million people. Then again I have no confidence in Kevin Falcon, the Minister responsible for the 1000 year BC Rail deal either (although clearly Old Hawaii G had something to do with this). So either the citizens of the GVRD get screwed alone or we take the whole province with us. What a choice.

Personally I'm not a fan of the P3's. They are so damned convenient for the private concern running the project -- yet usually the deals that are signed mean the taxpayer is on the hook for cost over-runs or other downfalls. Look either things should be privatized out-right, where as some things will need to be regulated, or they should be kept in the public system where a private contractor may be hired to build something but would have to actually keep to the price they quote. And if they don't they would then be on the hook for it themselves. Then again I suppose that would be too difficult -- and heaven forbid we have that.

I think Rapid Transit is a good idea. Just not along Cambie. The Bus service is good enough (most of the time). And if one wants to take public transit to Richmond take the 98B-Line. Also why would one take Transit to the Airport anyways? If I were a tourist I wouldn't take a city bus to my Hotel -- that's just stupid and if I were to go on a trip I wouldn't take all my luggage on the Bus. I would either drive, ask someone to drive me or take a taxi because if your willing to go on the trip in the first place I'm sure you can afford $10 to 20$ to get to the airport anyways.

The Rapid Transit projects I would like to see be built first would be to Coquitlam, a little further into Surrey and Maybe extend the Millennium Line Westwards -- even underground to UBC or something. I live only a block away from Cambie so I might be biased but I just think that those projects would be more logical. Also I heard that if the RAV line were to be built that existing Bus service along North-South routes in the City would be cut so as to encourage people to take the RAV line. That would worse than building the thing in the first place.

[ 12 June 2004: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]

[ 07 December 2004: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 12 June 2004 12:40 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Huh? Why would one take transit to the airport? Umm, I'm a graduate student who occasionally has to make air trips on a tight-tight budget with the hope of getting refunded in a month or two. I indeed try to take transit to and from airports. Taxis are often way too expensive.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 12 June 2004 01:04 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought that BC Transit ran urban transit across the province (I know they run PG as well as Vancouver). No matter what happens, wouldn't the heartlands be paying anyhow?

Maybe someone can fill me in on the structure of BC Transit.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr Burns
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posted 12 June 2004 01:21 PM      Profile for Mr Burns        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Having lived in Vancouver for a couple of years, and now residing in Calgary, I can't help but laugh at all the discussion about train lines. The city should've planned to introduce some real arterial roads, some real public transit years ago when the boom started.

Instead, everybody just sat back, had another puff, and commented on how beautiful the moutains and ocean look.


From: Calgary | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 12 June 2004 02:40 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:
I thought that BC Transit ran urban transit across the province (I know they run PG as well as Vancouver). No matter what happens, wouldn't the heartlands be paying anyhow?

Maybe someone can fill me in on the structure of BC Transit.


The way it used to work was that BC Transit was a provincial transit authority, managing every transit system from the big ol' GVRD all the way to the one-bus-loop system up in god only knows where up north.

Some genius convinced Glen Clark it would be a good idea to hive off the GVRD portion of BC Transit and create a separate transit authority for the region.

Great idea, bad execution. Here's why:

Devolution of authority often comes without devolution of spending. It happens all the time in the United States. The Repubs were famous for doing this - they'd "devolve" something down to the state level, and then not send money along with the transfer of authority.

End result: The people who got the authority didn't get the money, or the power to raise the money, which breaks the system and keeps it from working the way it should.

Now, in Republicanland, this is great, because it creates a built-in crisis for them to exploit: "Look at this! Government doesn't work!" (No shit, pals. You broke it.) Then they win an election, and break more shit and blame it all on the Dems. It's amazing how they manage to hoodwink the populace. But I should end my sidebar.

However, why the NDP fell for this is still a mystery to me. The only thing I can think of is that someone persuaded Glen Clark that if he transferred partial property tax authority to Translink, the government could get off the hook for funding new transit megaprojects and wouldn't have to fund Translink itself to the same degree as it funded the GVRD portion of BC Transit.

What it really did was transfer authority from people who knew how a transit system worked to a bunch of small-minded right-wing municipal politicians more interested in feathering their own beds than in getting anything done, and blaming it on the provincial government. (I saw the house George Puil lives in. That place must cost a million bucks.)

So all the idiots do now is jack up the fares and call that "progress".

The only good thing is that the 2002 muni elections put a bunch of pro-transit left or center-left politicians into the Translink board, and they were able to find the money to reinstate the Night Owl busses. Now they're working on trying to keep the RAV project entirely government-funded.

If the provincial government would just kick in for the part of the RAV line that Translink can't pay for, all would be well.

[ 12 June 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
beverly
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posted 12 June 2004 02:46 PM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well the dude in the picture behind Gordo doesn't look very happy.

[ 12 June 2004: Message edited by: kuba ]


From: In my Apartment!!!! | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 12 June 2004 02:52 PM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I thought that BC Transit ran urban transit across the province (I know they run PG as well as Vancouver). No matter what happens, wouldn't the heartlands be paying anyhow?
Maybe someone can fill me in on the structure of BC Transit.

Heywood, the former NDP government actually created the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority (aka Translink) in 1998. Translink manages all bus, Skytrain, Seabus and major road projects in the Lower Mainland. It's been controversial, for some of the reasons that Dr. Conway mentioned, but overall I think it's a really positive change. The revenue streams that Translink gets are the envy of most other local transit authorities in North America.

The RAV fiasco is a great example of what happens when senior levels of government try to manipulate regional transit planning to serve political agendas (in this case, the 2010 Olympics). Kudos to the majority of Translink directors for standing up for the needs of Greater Vancouver residents and saying no to Gordo's loony megaproject scam. If we were still under the old model, Gordo could just ram RAV down our throats as he's doing with the BC Rail privatization.

You are correct that BC Transit manages transit for the rest of the province, and that's not working very well, especially in larger centres. Here in Victoria, we've had year after year of service cuts and fare increases, and just recently the provincial government refused our local transit commission (an appointed body of BCLib hacks with minimal authority and zero accountability) when they requested a small gas tax increase to fund service improvements and avoid fare increases.

So, Gordo tells Greater Victoria to get stuffed, fares go up, service goes down, more people switch to cars, pollution gets worse, the poor, seniors, disabled, etc. get shafted. Give me a Translink for the Capital Region any day over this BS!!

[ 12 June 2004: Message edited by: West Coast Lefty ]


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 12 June 2004 02:56 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, but frankly, I prefer an integrated transit system where the provincial government can directly control who runs the whole show. With Translink, we can't fire the bastards unless we have a municipal election, and that means we can only influence the composition of the Translink board indirectly.

Yes, you might say it's better than Victoria running the show but at least they can fire anybody in BC transit any time they want if said BC transit person is featherbedding instead of actually solving transit problems.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 12 June 2004 03:24 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Which leads us away from the RAV issue.

Jane Jacobs correctly described it as a porkbarrel, particularly if we use the Skytrain technology.

Light rail costs less and employs more people once it is operating. With the money for RAV we could put in light rail to the airport, to UBC, to SFU, to the Tri-Cities, and a few crossover links while we are at it. We could even stick a track onto the Lions Gate and get the North Shore into the game.

Instead we will have this gargantuan white elephant for the region to carry.

On an unrelated note, a massive Casino is planned for the second stop away from the airport. Any guesses as to who is backing this deal?


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 12 June 2004 06:05 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Didn't someone trying to get a casino licence bugger up Glen Clark's premiership?

I wouldn't be surprised if there's some serious attempts at bribery among casino operators trying to muscle in on a lucrative market. Even if we don't have a domestic gambling problem we get enough Americans whose money still goes 30% farther in this country than in their own, and they'll gladly gamble it away if they're used to hitting Harrah's down over near Bellingham.

Furthermore I'd be surprised if there wasn't some corruption in the current government insofar as making deals in exchange for issuing casino licences as well as leaning on municipal governments to allow them.

Personal Anecdote: Some guy was walking up and down this street last week putting up "Stop the Slots on Hastings" signs.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
flotsom
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posted 12 June 2004 06:17 PM      Profile for flotsom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Personal anecdote: Many of my chums on the coast attest to remembering Glen Clark from his days as a very popular bartender at the Railway Club.
From: the flop | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 12 June 2004 06:20 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
Huh? Why would one take transit to the airport? Umm, I'm a graduate student who occasionally has to make air trips on a tight-tight budget with the hope of getting refunded in a month or two. I indeed try to take transit to and from airports. Taxis are often way too expensive.

Your choice -- I should have specified and said something like the average tourist or family those who seem to take trips more often then those on tight budgets. I said it though is because it's a sentiment that's echoed rather often in these parts.

quote:
Originally posted by Mr Burns

Having lived in Vancouver for a couple of years, and now residing in Calgary, I can't help but laugh at all the discussion about train lines. The city should've planned to introduce some real arterial roads, some real public transit years ago when the boom started.
Instead, everybody just sat back, had another puff, and commented on how beautiful the moutains and ocean look.


Oh jeez are you actually suggesting that Vancouver take transit tips from Calgary. The two cities are completely different. My second cousin was a high-ranking civil engineer for the city of Calgary, if he hadn't passed away, he would tell you that the two cities are hugely different -- Vancouver has a higher density while Calgary is a lot more spread out kind of like a suburb. There is simply little to no room for new freeways and new high-capacity roads in Vancouver-Proper, Burnaby, New Westminster and a few other areas. Yes they could build these things in the southern suburbs and from what I understand they will and one of the points this thread brought up was the whole issue of public transit and the difficulties associated with improving it. But what do you except them to do buy up lots averaging 500,000$ to build a few free ways through the middle of the city itself? If you actually lived in Vancouver you would know how ludicrous you sound. The whole should have, could have, would have talk is pointless because as well all know we can't go back in time and the issue isn't the past it's the future.

So just let us sit around -- smoke some pot and admire the mountains as you say.

[ 12 June 2004: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]

[ 07 December 2004: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boydfish
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posted 12 June 2004 08:33 PM      Profile for Boydfish     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sigh.

Last month when my wife and I were in London, we were struck at the vast difference in how well organized the tube and train systems were. Light rail works. If it can serve London, a scaled down version for the GVRD can work too. Under no circumstances should Bombardier be allowed to even read the request for proposals.

I also liked London's "congestion charge" system. I suspect that Vancouverites might wobble a bit at the privacy implications of it: The system uses a license plate video camera system that rings Central London that is used for counter-terrorism purposes, so that if you drive your car into the central area without paying a congestion surcharge first, you get fined.

I'd suggest that we designate the downtown core, essentially from Quebec street west, as a "congestion zone", charge $10 a day to drive in there. Luckily, as there are few road entries to this area, the amount of cameras needed would be small. The funds generated get used to fund mass transit initiatives in the entire GVRD.

Oh yeah, and make the West Coast Express actually run around the clock with departures on the half hour: The entire damn world does not work M-F, 9-5!


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 12 June 2004 08:35 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How about the Skytrain, too? I find it ridiculous that the trains stop at 1 AM.

Yes, I know there's things like maintenance but my god, the trains could just run up and down a single track from 1 AM to 5 AM, if they were really that worried.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Islander
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posted 12 June 2004 10:12 PM      Profile for Islander     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Probably not many tourists would take RAV from the airport, but I'm sure many of the 15 000 odd people that work there would. I'm actually glad that this thing might still go ahead. In 80 or 90 years, the citizens of Vancouver won't be looking at it and wishing that the government had cheaped out on it. Infrastructure lasts a long time, so up front costs have to be spread out accordingly.

While the Millennium Line might not have been the best routing, it did come in under budget, by $80 million, and opened on time.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 12 June 2004 10:45 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Boydfish, London doesn't use "light rail"; at least I never saw any. The railways in and around London are heavy weights. The traffic is so intense that light rail wouldn't hold up.

Vancouver is at an awkward size; too big for its roads but not big enough to justify heavy rail. All it can do for the time being is to piecemeal it.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Boydfish
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posted 13 June 2004 02:49 AM      Profile for Boydfish     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
How about the Skytrain, too? I find it ridiculous that the trains stop at 1 AM.

This'll make the good Doctor spin about the room like a top, but the Skytrain actually works better if it runs around the clock than if it is shut down for four hours: Every station needs to be locked down and sealed up, the system parked for the night, then spun back up in the morning.

quote:
London doesn't use "light rail"; at least I never saw any. The railways in and around London are heavy weights. The traffic is so intense that light rail wouldn't hold up.

My impression was that light referred to the passenger loads, but if this was wrong, fair enough.

In any case, the "tube" format could easily be used in the GVRD.

In fact, I'd also like to see high speed trains like the ones in Japan and Europe run up to Kelowna, Kamloops and Whistler.


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 13 June 2004 06:11 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like the idea of building the routes along Broadway (and then probably along 10th avenue or underground when Broadway hits Alma) westwards ending at UBC with another one to Coquitlam/PortMoody/Port-Coquitlam and one to the North Shore (which IMHO is a good idea). I would wonder though would there be much of a point in extending the expo line further south into Surrey or does it end in at an appropriate location? (question posed for those who use it)
From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 13 June 2004 11:55 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Light vs heavy rail refers to motive power. If the track can support diesel engines and cargo consists (heaver engines and longer cars), it's heavy rail.

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Light_rail


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Boydfish
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posted 13 June 2004 03:04 PM      Profile for Boydfish     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Light vs heavy rail refers to motive power. If the track can support diesel engines and cargo consists (heaver engines and longer cars), it's heavy rail.

Fair enough.

My point is still that we should be building it in the GVRD. Do we need it yet? Not quite yet, as Cougyr noted. The point is that you don't build what you need now, you build what you'll need in the future. The GVRD will continue to grow and we need a transit system that is slightly more than we need, not slightly less.

That's also why I think highspeed trains to the interior should be a priority: If you can get from Kamloops/Kelowna to Vancouver in under an hour and a half, you will have people willing to live and work up there if their job only requires a day or two in the GVRD per week.

Build a transit system that kicks ass and people will use it. It's that simple.


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 14 June 2004 05:25 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The BC Transport Minister Kevin Falcon either is uninformed or he thinks he can just throw dust into our eyes when he talks about the private enterprise part of RAV meaning that there is no risk for the BC public. It's probably just another example how Hawaiian Gordo is passing goodies to his buddies. On the news Gordo was saying things like 'we don't believe there will be a cost overrun'.



Right! Are we all dumb????



Almost all major public works projects have cost overruns, most of the time substantial ones.



See for example:



"... Results from the first statistically significant study of cost escalation in transportation infrastructure projects. Based on a sample of 258 transportation infrastructure projects worth US$90 billion and representing different project types, geographical regions, and historical periods, it is found with overwhelming
statistical significance that the cost estimates used to decide whether such projects should be built are highly and systematically misleading. Underestimation
cannot be explained by error and is best explained by strategic misrepresentation, that is, lying. The policy implications are clear: legislators, administrators, investors, media representatives, and members of the public who value honest numbers should not trust cost estimates and cost-benefit analyses produced by project promoters and their analysts."



Underestimating Costs in Public Works Projects Error or Lie?



The authors, Prof. Flyvbjerg is a professor of planning with the Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark. He is founder and director of the university's research program on transportation infrastructure planning and was twice a Visiting Fulbright Scholar to the U.S. Holm is an assistant professor of planning with the Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, and a research associate with the university's research program on transportation infrastructure planning. Her main interest is economic appraisal of projects. Buhl is an associate professor with the Department of Mathematics, Aalborg University, and an associate statistician with the university's research program on transportation infrastructure planning.



Journal of the American Planning Association



Vol. 68, No. 3, Summer 2002.



(c) American Planning Association, Chicago, IL.



Prof Flyvberg and two others have written the latest (and probably the most authorative study) of megaprojects.



Mega projects And Risk Anatomy of Ambition



"... Megaprojects and Risk provides the first detailed examination of the phenomenon of megaprojects. It is a fascinating account of how the promoters of multi-billion dollar megaprojects systematically and self-servingly misinform parliaments, the public and the media in order to get projects approved and built. It shows, in unusual depth, how the formula for approval is an unhealthy cocktail of underestimated costs, overestimated revenues, undervalued environmental impacts and overvalued economic development effects. This results in projects that are extremely risky, but where the risk is concealed from MPs, taxpayers and investors...."






For a summary, reviews and a sample chapter go to:
Megaprojects and Risk



I read the previous two works. Here's one published by the Brookings Institute, of which I read only a summary (so far).



"...Alan A. Altshuler and David E. Luberoff



Mega-Projects



Brookings Institution copublished with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy 2003



"...While focusing principally on transportation mega-projects such as Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel project (the "Big Dig"), Denver International Airport, and the Los Angeles subway, they consider as well the scores of new stadiums, arenas, and convention centers built (mainly at public expense) in recent years...."



Alan Altshuler is the Ruth and Frank Stanton Professor of Urban Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and its Graduate School of Design. He is also director of the Kennedy School's Taubman Center for State and Local Government. David E. Luberoff is the Taubman Center's associate director and an adjunct lecturer at the Graduate School of Design.



For a summary, table of contents, reviews and a sample chapter go to:



Mega-Projects



Or since we're talking about the RAV (and therefore most likely a tunnel under Cambie) read about one of the greatest boondoggles the Chunnel i.e. the tunnel linking Britain with France.



The following is edited for fair use(The piece is not available for free anymore at the NYT so I can't give you an url)



New York Times



May 10, 2004



OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR



"A Tunnel Too Far



By CHRISTIAN WOLMAR


LONDON - When the Channel Tunnel opened 10 years ago Friday, [i.e. May 7 1994] it was hailed as an engineering marvel, a new paradigm for the private financing of public-works projects and a way to integrate Britain into a continent it had always held at arm's length. But it has not worked out that way: while the 31-mile-tunnel linking Folkestone and Calais was a technological success, it's been a miserable failure both financially and politically......



Consequently, revenues from the tunnel have been well below expectations and the company in charge, Eurotunnel, is effectively bust - which helps explain why the 10-year anniversary passed with scant celebration. Eurotunnel has debts of $11 billion and its income from passengers and freight is not enough to pay even the interest. ....



In a desperate attempt to save the company and the value of its stock, a group of small French shareholders ousted Eurotunnel's board in April. The shareholders want the British and French governments to bail out the company,.....



we ended up with a rather uninspiring and cumbersome rail link that cost $15 billion, more than twice the estimated pricetag......



... those high predictions of passenger volume were a bit of a con, intended to attract investors to what was supposed to be a wholly private project. The numbers were never really achievable, but were used to get guaranteed regular payments from the state-run railways for millions of phantom passengers. But those payments dry up in 2006, a deadline that has helped precipitate the current crisis.



[My emphasis]The hard truth is that the private sector alone can never build these massive infrastructure projects because the risks are too great and the return is too small. Similar links, like the Oresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden, have been joint public-private ventures or financed entirely by the state.




The tunnel will survive. It will be worth keeping open because its revenue is greater than its operating costs - and, in any case, it would be far too embarrassing for the respective governments to mothball such a huge project......"



Christian Wolmar is the author of the forthcoming "Subterranean Railway," a social history of London's Underground, and a columnist for Rail magazine.



Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company






Granted the Channel tunnel and RAV are two different projects with the former transporting (among other things) cars on the railroad. But put it into the context elaborated in the other works mentioned here and the odds that RAV will pay for itself are miniscule.



Furthermore, does anybody believe that the governments (federal, provincial and municipal through Translink) would just forget about the hundreds of millions they poured into the project if the private sector walked away?



It's just another sucker game that Gordon Campbell wants you to play, that is our money will make his developer friends a lot richer and we'll be stuck with the bill.



Nice try Gordo. But what can one expect from somebody who cuts funds for poor families, legal aid, the Ombudsman's Office, people on welfare and a lot more but somehow finds billions to put into public works projects and the Olympics. Heck, the last I saw Jimmy is worth ONLY about a billion and a half. (Before Expo 86 it was about half that much.)



People wake up and smell the coffee!






From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 14 June 2004 05:28 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is my first post here and I noticed only afterwards that there are a lot more carriage returns than I wanted.

Can anybody tell me please what I should do differently with respect to the layout?


Thanks in advance


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 14 June 2004 07:31 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir George Williams:
This is my first post here ...

Welcome newcomer. Don't expect to learn everything at once. Hell..I haven't even figured out how to add a photo to one of my contributions. If you look at the top of the page you will find a useful link called "FAQ."

quote:
Can anybody tell me please what I should do differently with respect to the layout?

Well, Sir George, if you were to "click" on the quotation marks at the very top of your first contribution, you will get a window that identifies itself as "Post a Reply." Now have a look inside the message box and you will see all the space that you left in your message.

Sidebar: You can actually edit your own messages.

OK, where was I? Oh yea...you are looking at your message and discovering all the space there. You need to edit your message when you create it. By the way, that was a very long message. If you are involved in a rapid or quick conversation, by the time you have finished your reply others may have gone their own way. Quickness is at a premium.

HINT: Provided you have a decent computer, you could open another window on your computer, say...Word or WordPerfect or some word processor in general...and pre-draft a longer contribution. You could edit the contribution before you even post it to babble...and then, using CONTROL C (for copy) and CONTROL V (for paste) simply paste the contribution into the box where the reply gets posted.

I have edited my own post and it will have some automated remarks at the bottom to indicate that fact. By the way, Sir George, what have you done since founding the YMCA? Sir George? Are you there?

[ 14 June 2004: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 14 June 2004 08:28 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
N. Beltov
Thanks for your answer.
I had to buy some food. I'm not used to this being a 'speed affair'. Maybe you're using MSN Messenger too often?

(I never use it)

I don't get it about speed being the essence. Don't people follow the threads they are involved in? Or is it the Messenger thing I just alluded to.
I was browsing yesterday and since this is a topic on which I have written in the past and in which I'm interested I decided to join but it took until today to get the OK.
I edit my html pages in Notepad and I'm used to add 2 'brs' to get a proper space but it seems this board inserts a new paragraph automatically for every carriage return. I found this out
I haven't done much since 1844 (the year I founded the YMCA with 11 others).
I wasn't a 'Sir' then. Actually Sir Geroge Williams University is my Alma Mater (for my BA) and I have very fond memories of it. (It started 'life' as an evening high school at the -surprise!- YMCA. In 1973 it merged with Loyola to become Concordia University in Montreal.
Years ago I posted a lot on an American site (now defunct) and it had a setup similar to this board; so I should get used to it in not too much time. (It may have been "UBB code" or maybe something similar)
Not all boards (eg vivelecanada) do this and it looks terrible if you don't add the 'brs'.
Thanks for 'the instructions'.

P.S. Actually I edited it in Notepad and then pasted it into the window here. I have a fairly decent machine with over a gigabyte of RAM, so opening several windows wouldn't -or shouldn't - be a problem.

[ 15 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 14 June 2004 08:38 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yea...my "speed" comment doesn't really apply to this thread. I mentioned the point because you may, in the future, want to give a more lengthy reply in the circumstances of a more rapid conversation. And in that case, having another window open where you can create and edit a longer contribution, following my suggestion will allow you to simultaneously follow the debate and create the longer contribution.

Further advice: you can get rid of the extra copies of the following:

[ 14 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]

...by editing your own message and going to the very bottom of it. Then delete all the copies of the [bracketed message] and 1 more copy will appear at the bottom, once you have finished editing and clicked on "Edit Post."

[ 14 June 2004: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 14 June 2004 08:54 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
N. Beltov

thanks again.


Since UBB Code is turned on to insert an image simply do this:
IMGhttp://www.infopop.com/artwork/footer_logotype.gif/IMG

Enclose the IMG tags at both ends in the customary square brackets.

Arrrrgghhh! I was struggling with the code tags and haven't yet been able to make them work.

Do not use html tags do tell the browser to do the same thing that you're telling it to do with UBB Code

BTW Is the 'conjunction of the Red River and Assiniboine' at The Forks?

[ 15 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 15 June 2004 02:39 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
code:


I just noticed that only 'forum leaders may delete posts'

Sorry but the thread dropped dead some time ago anyway.

And I still can't make the code tags work; this should display the code not the image.

OK blame the program for my inadequacies.

Just wish I could delete this

[ 15 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 18 June 2004 03:33 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's an intresting opinion I read in the Vancouver Courier on the subject.

Self-interest at RAV's heart

quote:

Self-interest at RAV's heart

By Allen Garr

On Monday the odds were that by Friday the majority of TransLink's directors will vote to support the RAV line.

The argument went something like this: The province would cajole those few more directors required to reverse last month's 7-5 vote that stopped the project. The desire to consider alternatives to the most expensive project in the region's history will be nothing but a distant memory along with local transit autonomy.

The premier's deputy, Ken Dobell-Mr. Muscle-would get what he has always wanted since his days as CEO of TransLink: a SkyTrain line down Cambie, designed, built and operated by the private sector.

Victoria has a lot riding on this, but then so does the region.

It is three strikes and you're out for Gordon Campbell's determination to get a P3, a public- private partnership. His government backed out of a P3 deal at the trade and convention centre. The attempt to cut the private sector in on operating the Coquihalla Highway turned into a political disaster.

If RAV isn't a P3, the premier's private sector pals will begin to doubt him. This close to a provincial election he needs something to sing about. And if he can get this one going, the Sea-to-Sky highway upgrade is next.

Despite the fact we were told the RAV project had nothing to do with the 2010 Olympics, it will have everything to do with the Olympics. RAV jobs will be Olympic jobs. RAV investment will be Olympic investment. RAV debt, well, that will be quite another matter.

TransLink directors may be nervous about the enormous cost of this project (most recently quoted at $1.7 billion) and the impact it will have on future transit plans for the whole region, but not to worry. Dobell's front man, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon, repeated his promise on Monday that the private sector and the province will assume all overrun costs on construction in general and tunneling in particular.

The province will handle any costs if the ridership targets aren't met. (Revenue promised by TransLink to the private operator is based on arguably inflated ridership numbers.) All TransLink has to do according to Falcon is give Victoria the fare box revenues, control over setting fares and a say in setting bus route schedules feeding the RAV line. I'm not making this up.

When TransLink was created half a dozen years ago, the idea was to take politics out of transit decisions and move the power to the region. Yeah. Right. At this rate, all TransLink directors will have left to do is collect their directors' fees, eat their free lunches and raise their hands to agree with Victoria's wishes.

Concerns that completing the line to the northeast sector and stopping the $23 million annual hemorrhaging of funds from the Millennium Line are being ignored will be soothed with a provincial promise of $170 million. Never mind that that is well short of a minimum $450 million to complete that project.

There will never be an accurate assessment of what the needs of most transit users around the Cambie corridor want or need. In fact, to help fund that line we will reduce existing service on Cambie of course, but service will also be cut on Oak and Granville just to push passengers over to the RAV line and boost the ridership numbers. Those folks from Delta who now ride directly into Vancouver on comfortable commuter buses will instead be shifted to local buses and get a tour of the Richmond Town Centre where they will transfer to the RAV line.

None of this matters to Campbell, Dobell and Falcon wrapped as they are in ideology and self-interest. That said, the odds may be in their favour, but don't place your bet just yet.




From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 18 June 2004 11:16 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The RAV line got killed dead again.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 19 June 2004 01:37 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
DrConway

"killed again"

To be resurrected again. Gordo won't give up.


Davidbcalec

Alan Garth's ending ('don't place your bets yet') is too mild. Check out the links in my post above and you will see that the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of this mega project -just like most others- coming in way over budget

And we'll pay the damages longtime after Gordo has ridden off into the sunset

[ 19 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 19 June 2004 02:16 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I started my first website a bit before the Olympic referendum and the run up to the war on Iraq. Obviously it included the RAV.

On Feb 23, 2003 I wrote:

"Olympic Megaprojects And Corporate Welfare

Historically speaking large public works projects almost always cost more than originally estimated. If Vancouver wins the bid for the 2010 Winter Games three, possibly four, mega projects are involved: The Olympics themselves, the expansion of the Trade and Convention Centre, the Sea to Sky Highway upgrade and maybe a rapid transit line between the airport and downtown Vancouver. It's curious to note that the BC Auditor General excluded the Trade Centre expansion in his assessment of the Olympics but included the Sea to Sky Highway upgrade, while the provincial government did the reverse.

The rapid transit line to the airport is not likely to be built because of opposition by Mayor Campbell; almost certainly not as a subway under Cambie Street. Victoria called for expressions of interest from corporations shortly before the bid was submitted but this was probably just window dressing....."

Much later I wrote:
"
On 022303 we wrote:"The rapid transit line to the airport is not likely to be built because of opposition by Mayor Campbell." He had expressed that on the airwaves of the CBC during his election campaign. But he does not always do what he says he will do. "

For this and other Olympic Bid related articles go to:
http://www.speakingup.greatnow.com/Olympic%20Games%20Mega%20Projects%20and %20Corporate%20Welfare.htm

I don't mind giving you the url.
But be warned about the server before you go there!
I built this site mainly as an exercise, i.e. to learn a little html. Since I'm not very affluent I had to opt for a free service. Of course there is no free lunch. The server bombards you with ads, puts some in the middle of my text and wants you to download things. I have never had any problem. But I never download anything. I use Mozilla and it suppresses most of the pop ups that IE tends to throw at you.

Furthermore, I haven't done anything to the site in a long time (and don't intend to unless I start another approach). There are tons of links there and some have no doubt expired. (The Georgia Straight, for example, kills them off regularly.) I have no intention of fixing this.

So if you go there do so at your own risk.

I have never "advertised" my website before. Have I overdone it with the cautioning and excuses?

[ 19 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 19 June 2004 04:11 PM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
DrConway
"killed again"

To be resurrected again. Gordo won't give up.


No, this time, RAV is really dead. Gordo doesn't have the $$ to take it over himself, there's no time to build it now before 2010, and the Translink board (or at least half of them) has seen through the P3 BS and is actually standing up for rational transit planning in the Lower Mainland.

The RAV line won't be needed for another 20 years, the Northeast line to Coquitlam is the priority according to the GVRD liveable region plan (and was going to be next under the original NDP Skytrain plan after the Milennium Line was completed).

Kudos to the "anti-RAV 6" on the Translink Board and especially Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and COPE councillors David Cadman and Raymond Louie. Those 3 in particular showed great leadership (Barbara Sharp from N. Vancouver was good as well) to stand up to Gordo's bribes and Falcon's blackmail. Future generations of Vancouver residents will owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Ding-dong, the RAV witch is dead

[ 19 June 2004: Message edited by: West Coast Lefty ]


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 19 June 2004 04:51 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought Kevin Falcon acted like a total dickhead on television when they were interviewing him the other day.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
marcy
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posted 19 June 2004 06:56 PM      Profile for marcy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's because Kevin Falcon IS a total dickhead.
From: vancouver | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
captain_easychord
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posted 19 June 2004 10:09 PM      Profile for captain_easychord     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For some time I've wanted the prov. NDP to make Surrey-Cloverdale a priority, just to take out Falcon in 2005. He's one of the scarier ministers in my eye. Mind, the riding went Liberal in '91 and '96, so it'd be hard, buit not overwhelmingly; Falcon's still in his first term.
From: The West Beyond the West | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 20 June 2004 05:45 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, No we have to defeat Collins first. Just take a look at the guy he's about as trustworthy as a while I'll use a tired cliche "a fox in a hen-house".

As for the RAV thing I think this is good news. If the north-east sector project is more logical that should be acted upon first. Then again I suppose logic isn't important -- to the Province anyways re: their interfering w/ this whole thing.


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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Babbler # 6119

posted 20 June 2004 01:23 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
West Coast Lefty

I sure hope you're right but don't underestimate Gordo's ability to lie re not having the money.

When he couldn't find a private partner for the Trade and Convention Centre he simply proclaimed that the project will come in on budget (citing a figure less than the one that mad Bentall walk away from it s contemplated participation).

When he announced the upgrade of the Sea to Sky highway he cited a cost figure which adjusted for inflation was 20 percent below what the Dept of Transportation had come up with some years ago. And it won't only be the tunnels they might have to dig because of the residents and Mayor of North Vancouver, which will increase the budget. It almost never happened in the last hundred or so years that any mega project came in on budget.

http://www.planning.org/japa/pdf/JAPAFlyvbjerg.pdf

http://titles.cambridge.org/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521009464

http://www.brook.edu/press/books/megaprojects.htm

If Gordo can find a way to have the BC government asssume all the cost and pull wool over enough people's eyes, he will do it.

When we'll find out the real costs he will long have retired to Hawaii (or whereever).

I hope I'm wrong.

[ 20 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
loopy
recent-rabble-rouser
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posted 20 June 2004 03:20 PM      Profile for loopy        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First off: personal biases- I am for a north/south, grade separated (elevated or tunnelled) rapid transit system running from downtown to Richmond. A grade seperated system IS needed- any at grade system will not result in a significant modal shift in transportation. Second, even with a grade separated system, traffic congestion on the North/South routes will simply not improve by building a rapid transit system. We're adding 10s of thousands of net new cars to the road system each year. A RAV line will only marginally slow (if at all)the increasing congestion on these roads. In general, I can support design/build P3s (with strict budgetary controls in place-like the Millennium Line), but am against design/build/operate p3s.

I am sick and tired of people saying that this line is strictly to serve Richmond and the airport. The fact is the bulk of the ridership will ORIGINATE AND TERMINATE in Vancouver. Land speculation for density was already occuring on the Cambie corridor (think the Olive development at Cambie and 14th as a starter). If the project went ahead, you would be damn sure that condo developers would be buying up all the land around the stations in Vancouver. These would be extremely dense, mid-rise developments, which would have limited parking to encourage TRANSIT USAGE. Of course, this raises concerns about which of Campbell's property development buddies profits (as detailed in Garr's Courier articles), but this could be resolved if Translink ever sprouted the balls to actually use its Benefitting Area Tax.

However, the real scandal of this story is the absolute mismangement of the project-not by TransLink, but by Campbell, Falcon and Dobell. The provincial government has 3 Board spots on the TransLink Board. However, Campbell, Dobell, and Falcon FAILED TO APPOINT LOCAL MLAs to sit on the Board!(Perhaps this says more about the timidness of GVRD Liberals to actually request to sit on the Board.) All Campbell had to do was appoint three MLAs, have them show up and vote on the intial BAFO vote, then have them sulk back into the shadows. Yet, you don't hear any of this from Campbell apologists like the Board of Trade and the BC Chamber of Commerce!

Finally, Falcon's comments that he will not pass the legislation concerning the necessary tolling powers for the the Fraser River Crossing and commercial parking taxes proves that he has no understanding of his portfolio. The guy is an absoulte idiot, concerned more with political optics than policy. After all, if the Fraser Crossing doesn't get built, it's his own constituents transportation needs that get screwed!


From: somewhere b/n here and there | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 20 June 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
loopy

"strict budgetary controls like the Millenium Line"

How successful were those 'strict controls'?

Didn't I read recently that it came in way over budget?


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 20 June 2004 07:58 PM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"strict budgetary controls like the Millenium Line"

How successful were those 'strict controls'?

Didn't I read recently that it came in way over budget?


Not quite, SGR. The line came in on time and under budget, IIRC, but it was reported this week that the ridership is much less than predicted, which was one of the main concerns with RAV as well.

quote:
West Coast Lefty
I sure hope you're right but don't underestimate Gordo's ability to lie re not having the money.

When he couldn't find a private partner for the Trade and Convention Centre he simply proclaimed that the project will come in on budget (citing a figure less than the one that mad Bentall walk away from it s contemplated participation).


It's true that you can never trust Gordo , but in this case, if the province took over RAV, Translink would just pull out entirely and the province would have to fund the construction and operation of the entire line permanently. It would mean sucking tons of $$ out of the "heartlands" into Greater Vancouver and it would not be viable politically. RAV would have been a disastrous boondoggle, and that's why Gordo was so keen to have Translink proceed with it, so it wouldn't be on the provincial books.


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 21 June 2004 01:40 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
West Coast Lefty

I agree with you that the chance of Gordo having the BC government take all the financial risk is minute.

But as you said 'never trust Gordo'

With respect to the cost of the Millenium line I was probably under the mistaken impression that it cost a lot more than budgeted.

To support your assertion of 'under budget' I would very much like to have some evidence, a source, from you, if possible.

I must have spent half an hour yesterday sifting through google hits and there wasn't one which gave me the budgeted cost.

Do you have a trustworthy link which will give me this figure?

In the end I sent an email to info@translink asking them to send me the info. Let's see if they will. Maybe you could oblige me.

The Auditor General of BC talks about several million dollars of start up costs (I vaguely remember about 26 million) which are contested. But I admit these are peanuts in relation to the total. (Somehow it refuses to enter the url where the document is. I don't know why. If your interested click on search and use the search string 'millenium line construction cost'.)

http://www.bcauditor.com/AuditorGeneral.htm

The Financial Statements for the year ended (I believe) March 31 2003 have incredibly low amortisation rates for capital expenditures. (For example, 3 years for software, which for federal income taxes used to be written off in one year when I did this kind of work about a decade ago. 25 years for the vehicles seems long to me too.).

Of course this would have the effect of overstating revenue.

http://www.rapidtransit.bc.ca/aboutus/pdf/rtp200financialreportaudited.pdf


You already mentionned the ridership falling short of predictions.

I guess, you are right and I was mistaken, about the construction cost. I'm sure you'll agree that this still leaves the question open 'was it worth it', i.e. does the revenue cover operating costs.

I find transit fares in the Lower Mainland outrageous (in Montreal $2.50 cash fare gets you one hour on the whole system)and the fares are going up again here, surely in part because of the expensive projects.

http://www.stcum.qc.ca/English/info/a-tarif.htm

[ 21 June 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Centrist
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posted 23 June 2004 12:18 AM      Profile for Centrist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tonight on BCTV's Newshour, former Premier Mike Harcourt was interviewed on the demise of the RAV line and seemed quite disappointed that it did not proceed and was hopeful that some mechanism could be instituted to resurrect the line.

Politics makes strange bedfellows.


Edited to Add:

The provincial government was allowed 3 voting appointees on Translink's board, which apparently have been left vacant.

Otherwise, Victoria would probably have had the votes to overcome Translink's 6-6 voting deadlock.

[ 23 June 2004: Message edited by: Centrist ]


From: BC | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 04 July 2004 12:31 AM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I "told you so". (See my post above on June 20th)


Modified RAV proposal gets green light
http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=1fad6e3d-2b38-4926-8135-4f2c44c5fc23

Rapid Transit Expansion
http://www.translink.bc.ca/Whats_New/News_Releases/news06300401.asp


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 04 July 2004 03:55 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Dumb bastards just agreed to give $1.35 billion to some big corporation, plus a guaranteed revenue stream.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Kevin
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posted 04 July 2004 08:29 AM      Profile for Kevin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Okay, so let me get this straight...

Because the representatives on the council didn't do what the Premier wanted, he made them vote 3 times until the vote was clearly in his favour?

Jeez! Someone tell Gordo that I want to revote on the provincial election until its 100% NDP because I'm not happy with the outcome!


From: Simon Fraser University | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 04 July 2004 11:49 AM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Centrist

Sure politics makes for strange bedfellows not only with respect to the RAV.

Take the NDP's 'little cousin', COPE, who ran an election promising a referendum and turned the 'plebiscite' into a promotional vehicle for the Olympics. (Ever heard of a party promising a non-binding referendum?)

Not to mention the disgusting BS Jim Green used talking about a 'plebiscite' because otherwise Vancouver would have according to him compile a new voters list.

BULLSHIT!!!

The Vancouver Charter doesn't use the words 'referendum' or 'plebiscite' and there are two provisions to avoid drawing up a voters' list:
One COPE used in the end (registration at the polls) and the other one is to use the latest provincial voters' list.

What I'd like to know is whether Jum Green was just ignorant (not having read the Charter) or if he deliberately lied. I'm sure he'll get some nice tickets.

In the next election I will vote for ANYBODY but COPE.

Of course the whole thing was an NDP baby to begin with. To benefit the construction and hospitality industries to be paid for by everybody else.

So, as much as I dislike Gordo and his yahoos, the NDP (or their 'little cousins') aren't necessarily better.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 07 July 2004 02:45 AM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"I told you so". (See my post above on June 20th)

Modified RAV proposal gets green light
http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=1fad6e3d-2b38-4926-8135-4f2c44c5fc23

Rapid Transit Expansion
http://www.translink.bc.ca/Whats_New/News_Releases/news06300401.asp


You were right, SGW - I was too optimistic in my earlier declarations that RAV was dead. It may not be fully alive either - the cost cap on the BAFO process will be very difficult for any proponent to meet, though they will likely lie about it and pretend to meet the cap and then beg for more money in a few years when it will be impossible to stop the RAV express.

What a dumb move by Sharp and Louie!! They just saved Gordo's political bacon and will make the Northeast extension virtually impossible to complete for the forseeable future. None of their previous concerns about RAV have been addressed, they've just put a cost cap on BAFO that will be very difficult to enforce once the final proponent is selected. The company can just walk away in a few years and say: "Hey, we can't build it for this amount, so either you pay us more now or Vancouver will be a massive construction site for the 2010 Games." Any legal action would take years to work through the system and the political imperative will be to finish RAV for the Games at all costs (literally!)

P3 Profiteers: 1, Vancouver taxpayers: 0


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 07 July 2004 02:50 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Believe me it's alive and will probably stay alive. Gordo will see to that.

BTW I put a lot of time into researching the budgeted cost and the final cost of the Millenium Line, which you said came in under budget.

Try finding the budgeted cost with a google search! (I sifted -without success- for 45 minutes through google searches)That says something in itself.

In the end I found somebody nice at Translink and according to him the rolling stock was not included ('he thinks') in the final cost.

Include that and you have what's normally the case with almost all mega projects (see my links posted above): Final cost ends up way higher than the original budget because of 'strategic lying' according to one major study linked to above.

There were very few megaprojects over the last hundred years, or so, which came in on budget.

I would like to repeat my earlier question to you:

Have you got a RELIABLE source for the original budget and final cost of the Millenium Line?

If so, you'd do me (and possibly others around here) a great service by posting a link or the authors and title of anything in print.

Thanks.

P.S. Keep in mind that when Bentall Capital walked away from its participation in the expansion of the Trade and Convention Centre, Gordo just declared that the government could do it for ten percent less than the deal Bentall walked away from.

When Gordo announced the improvements to the Sea to Sky Highway he said it would be done for -if memory serves- about ten percent less than the estimate (adjusted for inflation) by the Transportation Dept done ten years earlier.

Historically megaprojects just don't conform to that. But Gordo will be gone by the time we'll find out. (Remember Expo? Remember the original Skytrain?)

[ 07 July 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 07 July 2004 09:18 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir George Williams:
In the end I found somebody nice at Translink and according to him the rolling stock was not included ('he thinks') in the final cost.

Pardon me for what may seem like a nitpick but...

WHAT?!?!

Rolling stock not included? Did it just materialize out of thin air or something? I don't think I can recite another example just this minute of blatant manipulation of the factors that go into the final cost of a megaproject, but I'll get back to you if I remember.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 07 July 2004 09:27 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
DrConway

If anybody is nitpicking it's you or you didn't follow this thread.

The final cost figure of something like 1.17 billion (supposedly slightly below the cost estimate of the line) does apparently not include the cars. Or for that matter 30 or 40 million -hey what's that if not peanuts?- of disputed start up cost.

Since you need rolling stock it's ridicolous to claim the project came in under budget and not include the cost of the cars needed to use the line

quote:
minute of blatant manipulation

60 cars are surely not a minute cost detail and certainly no manipulation on my part.

You might have asked in a litlle bit nicer way to explain what you didn't understand.

P.S. Another thing which was forgotten is that Bomardier assumed part of the financial risk.

P.P.S. It seems that here it is often not so much a question of what the facts are but of who (meaning which party) did what. But maybe that's the nature of such boards. Or maybe I just misunderstood the whole tone of your post. If that's the case I apologise.

Here's the text from the last email I received from the guy at Translink:

"It is my recollection that Bombardier had a 'fixed price contract' for the line, thus accepting various construction and schedule risks. You may wish to check with the RTPO on this. The construction costs I gave you are from an updated version of "The SkyTrain Story" that our subsidiary produced last year.

I should mention that the construction cost figure most likely covers only the guideway and not the 60 new Mark II cars or TransLink's share of the integration costs."

[ 07 July 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 08 July 2004 01:55 AM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I would like to repeat my earlier question to you:

Have you got a RELIABLE source for the original budget and final cost of the Millenium Line?

If so, you'd do me (and possibly others around here) a great service by posting a link or the authors and title of anything in print.


SGW, my apologies for not responding to your earlier request. I had a little matter called the federal election to attend to and a massive family reunion that began 2 days before E-Day, so please don't take it personally if your request was low down on my priority list.

Here's what I've found re the Milennium Line. A May 18, 2004 news release at this link has the following info re the budget for the line.

quote:
Fast Facts

* RTP 2000, a company owned by the Province of BC, was established in 1998 to extend Greater Vancouver's SkyTrain System.

* $1.2 billion Millennium Line project included design and construction of a 21 kilometre extension of the existing Expo Line. Approximately 17 km of elevated guideway and 12 new stations were constructed.

* Concurrent related initiatives including:

* $96 million upgrade to existing Expo SkyTrain line to accommodate new MKII SkyTrain technology being used for the Millennium Line;

* procuring 60 MKII SkyTrain vehicles for the Millennium and Expo lines;

* building a junction at Lougheed Town Centre in anticipation of a future SkyTrain line to Coquitlam; and

* managing a $35 million Municipal Integration Fund project to integrate the new line with community infrastructure and amenity enhancements.

* All initiatives completed under budget.


And from the same document

quote:
ProjectWorld Canada recognized the Millennium Line SkyTrain Expansion Project's exceptional project management with its 2003 Project of the Year Award . The award recognizes the best project in Canada and encourages the use of project management skills within Canada 's corporate community.

"Receipt of these national awards is a compelling endorsement of the engineering, technical and project management talent of the designers, consultants, contractors and suppliers who, along with a skilled workforce, were marshaled to deliver the Millennium Line SkyTrain Expansion Project in a timely manner and significantly under budget" said Dan Doyle, Chair, RTP 2000 Board of Directors and Deputy Minister of Transportation.


In general, I agree with you on megaprojects, SGW. They tend to go way over budget and the benefits rarely if ever live up to the advance billing. But this one apparently came in under budget, and I believe the Vancouver Island Highway Project did as well, though that was before my time and no, I will not research that factoid for you

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: West Coast Lefty ]

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: West Coast Lefty ]


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Centrist
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posted 08 July 2004 03:20 AM      Profile for Centrist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Politics aside, I want to provide my own personal take on matter.

A rapid transit line from downtown Vancouver to Richmond and/or the airport has been bandied about for well over several decades.

From a cost/benefit perspective, as well as ridership levels, I believe that a rapid transit extension to the north/east suburbs is probably a better bet.

That being said, if a rapid transit link is to be built to Richmond/Airport I believe that it should be along the central Cambie corridor v. the Arbutus corridor.

Firstly, a rapid transit link should have its own guideway to overcome stops at intersections which will increase the time traveled and ridership levels - similar to a freeway v. arterial roadway debate.

Secondly, from downtown to South Vancouver one has the localized densities and destinations of City Hall, VGH, QEP, Oakridge, and Langara Campus to provide a ridership base within Vancouver (as opposed to the western, largely upper-scale, residential Arbutus corridor).

Thirdly, YVR is committing $300 million to the project notwithstanding the rest of the provincial, federal, and regional funds already committed.

Internal Vancouver city staff reports suggest that only a Skytrain-type system (that is grade-separated or tunnelled) would be practical through the downtown core.

Remember Glen Clark's opposition to any further Skytrain type extensions?

After further analysis they had ascertained that a regular LRT system would probably not achieve the ridership levels and interfere with existing street traffic and, as such, the Millennium Line was constructed.

Like Mayor Larry Campbell says, and I somewhat agree, let's get on with it.

If it is determined during the construction phase that tunneling costs become too expensive, bring RAV to surface level after either 41st or 49th with grade/separated crossings where necessary.

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: Centrist ]


From: BC | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 08 July 2004 03:22 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir George Williams:
DrConway

If anybody is nitpicking it's you or you didn't follow this thread.


Relax. I'm not complaining about YOU. I'm complaining about the possibility that Translink pulled such a boneheaded attempt at covering up a cost overrun.

PS. As I hear it the Inner Island Highway plus the improvements to the Island Highway through the Malahat rang in at $2 billion, which is about what the government figured it would cost.

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Centrist
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posted 08 July 2004 03:29 AM      Profile for Centrist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: Centrist ]


From: BC | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 08 July 2004 12:00 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
West Coast Lefty

I understand the delay. My "impatience" is perhaps explained by the fact that I joined this forum not because of the election but because of this thread. (I believe I found a link to it on Tyee)

I've been interested and working on the subject since shortly before the "referendum" re the Olympics as you can tell by my website to which I linked in one of my posts.

Your answer astounds me though. Let me tell you why.

You appear to be an astute political observer and I'm surprised that you take the word of the company charged with implementing the project (and hence a vested interest in it being successful) at face value.

According to you they claim it includes the 60 cars. According to my contact at Translink this was not so.

Then there are the disputed 'integration costs'.

I won't nitpick and say that if you look at their P&L Statement and Balance Sheet (available somewhere on their site) that amortisation periods appear unduly long (thus lowering costs).

Furthermore I don't think interest costs have been included. I have no proof but I didn't see them anywhere either.

Not including interest costs (A HUGE ITEM) is tantamount to saying money is free. We all know it is not. Even if the government had advanced the whole sum (which I'm sure they didn't) they would have had to include it as there is something economists call "opportunity cost". In other words that money could have been deposited in some interest paying accounts if the project had not been built. So the 'lost interest' is a cost that should be included. In any case, I'm sure they didn't advance the entire cost and the government is paying interest on the the money borrowed. I surmise that this interest is paid somewhere from general funds.

There is the rare mega project which comes in on budget. (CN Tower is an example though I don't know if the figures I saw included the interest cost.) If it is correct that Bombarder assumed some of the financial risks then this would explain part of the reason "it came in slightly under budget". (Again, it didn't if interest costs aren't included.)

It appears that neither you nor I have seen a detailed cost breakdown. Just a statement that "it came in under budget".

Why should I believe this coming from the organsiation that was created to build the project and whose success depends in part on it coming in under budget?

That's what surprises me about you having read many of your posts.

BTW as you know Ken Lay of Enron was finally taken itno custody today. Do you really think that senior bureaucrats don't have a similar interest in covering up what they did if there was something to cover up?


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 08 July 2004 12:04 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
DrConway

As I said in my post 'I apologise if I'm wrong'.

I really thought you were attacking me.

I'm not saying that no megaproject ever comes in on time. A very few do. Statistically this was explained as "lying" by the promoters.

"Underestimation cannot be explained by error
and is best explained by strategic misrepresentation, that is, lying."

http://www.planning.org/japa/pdf/JAPAFlyvbjerg.pdf

They studied 258 transportation projects. The same author with others has also published an academic study in book form. I linked to it in my first post on this thread.

(Did they include interest costs in the Island Highway?

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 08 July 2004 01:16 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
OK I finally found some financial figures in a "May 2004 Update". (Maybe this wasn't there when I first visited the site; maybe I just didn't find it.)

It seems the gent at Translink was wrong (and by implication myself too) as the vehicles were included in the final cost.

http://www.rapidtransit.bc.ca/
Click on "Latest Report" then on "May 2004 Financial Statement"

There is also an interest charge of $ 88,886,533 expensed. However since the total cost (allegedly) was about 116 billion what time period at what rate would 88 million cover? One percent of 116 billion is 1.16 billion. $ 88,886,533 is less than one tenth of a percent of the total cost.

This doesn't make any sense or could it be just a monthly figure.

Another problem I have with this "on budget" thing is that the project isn't finished yet.

"The final station - VCC Station - is currently under construction. The new station is located on the north side of 6th Avenue, between Clark Drive and Keith Drive. It is scheduled for completion and handover to TransLink in late 2005."
http://www.rapidtransit.bc.ca/

If the project is not even finished, how can they say it was built within the budget?

It's all very murky.

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 08 July 2004 09:29 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
They finally got the VCC station built? Christ on a crutch. I didn't think CN Rail was ever gonna give up the right of way to let Translink run out to that station.

Anyway, no, I don't know that the Inner Island Highway cost accounting included the projected interest cost associated with borrowing the money through BCTFA to finance the deal.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 08 July 2004 10:05 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
no no no the VCC station is not yet built.

That's one reason I'm a little weary about all this "on budget" stuff.

I don't want to change this thread into one about the Millenium Line. What's the protocol? I'm relatively new here. I'd like to talk more about the Millenium Line AND the RAV.

Should we start a new thread (if you want to keep talking about this) or just continue here?


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 08 July 2004 10:21 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Have at it.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 08 July 2004 11:59 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"No pressure", says (BC Transportation Minister) Falcon

quote:
B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon denies accusations the provincial government pressured TransLink's board into resurrecting the RAV rapid transit project.

The $1.35-billion scheme to link Vancouver International Airport with Richmond and Vancouver via an above- and below-ground route along Cambie Street was twice voted down by TransLink's board, once on May 7 and again on June 18.

The third vote breathed new life into RAV, which was passed by an 8-4 margin at a special meeting June 30. The project will now move on to the "best and final offer" stage, and will not come back to the board again provided the successful bidder agrees to meet the target budget.

At last Wednesday's meeting, there were allegations provincial officials threatened TransLink directors who voted against RAV, hinting their municipalities would suffer if the project dies.

"That is utter and complete nonsense," Falcon said Monday. "I haven't spoken to any of them since they last voted against it, except for [Surrey Mayor and TransLink chair] Doug [McCallum]."

Falcon said RAV naysayers like TransLink directors Derek Corrigan and David Cadman are NDP supporters who oppose RAV for ideological reasons.

He added the directors who changed their votes from no to yes were likely responding to the "public outcry" that followed the board's previous decision to shelve RAV.

Falcon maintains there is no chance Greater Vancouver residents, who will partially fund RAV via increases in property taxes and a proposed parking stall tax, will be on the hook if there are cost overruns on the project.

The selected private sector proponent will likely take on any risk during construction, including tunneling costs above and beyond the project's budget, he said.



From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 09 July 2004 01:15 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The selected private sector proponent will likely take on any risk during construction, including tunneling costs above and beyond the project's budget, he said.

Christ. What the hell makes this "business-friendly" government such boneheads when it comes to trying to con the public?

Does anyone seriously think a private-sector company would undertake a project of uncertain profitability and a good deal of risk when that risk is not wholly borne by someone else?

What I'd like to know is whether under the terms of this final deal, the government has guaranteed any kind of rate of return on this project to the private-sector partner.

And if so, can an incoming NDP government unilaterally scrap the contract and complete the project under government aegis?


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 10 July 2004 12:21 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
if so, can an incoming NDP government unilaterally scrap the contract and complete the project under government aegis?

Probably. The concept of "taking" is not enshrined in Canadian law [a function of property rights not being included in the Constitution]. I assume this means provincial governments can change their minds - the feds did it over helicopters and Pearson's Terminal 3, course it cost them plenty.

On the other hand, if the contract is awarded to an American firm (or even a consortium where one of the players is American) the rules change. Then the deal falls under NAFTA and property rights are enshrined there.


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 10 July 2004 01:10 PM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
if so, can an incoming NDP government unilaterally scrap the contract and complete the project under government aegis?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Probably. The concept of "taking" is not enshrined in Canadian law [a function of property rights not being included in the Constitution]. I assume this means provincial governments can change their minds - the feds did it over helicopters and Pearson's Terminal 3, course it cost them plenty.


I think we need to distinguish between what is theoretically or legally possible and what is politically feasible. Assuming it proceeds beyond the BAFO stage, RAV will become part and parcel of the preparation for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler. If Carole James and the NDP win the 2005 election, completing the 2010 preparations on time and on budget will be seen as a major test of the BC NDP's fiscal competence. Any perception that we are "blowing the 2010 Games and embarassing BC on the world stage" will make the fast ferries look like a walk in the park. Unfortunately, the corporate media has succesfully portrayed the Olympics as a symbol of BC's pride and global identity among voters, and it would be political suicide for BC to be seen as "not ready" when the Games begin. To stop the RAV deal in mid-stream and take it over directly may not be a viable option at that stage of the process. In politics, sometimes the choices are between the horrible and the slightly less horrible

Before I get flamed, please note that I continue to vigorously oppose both 2010 and RAV. Indeed, RAV was a major component of the fraud and deception surrounding the 2003 Vancouver plebscite on the Olympic Bid. Since RAV wasn't officially part of the bid, the cost of RAV wasn't included in the bid book, hence the Auditor-General found the Games would be a net benefit after doing a cost-benefit analysis, which would have turned out totally differently if RAV had been included in the cost of the bid.

Had Vancouver voters known the true cost of the Olympics (including RAV) and the consequences of building RAV for Greater Vancouver's transit system and the overall liveability of the region, I think the NO side might have won the referendum and the Olympic bid would have been scrapped.

Both 2010 and RAV are "poison pills" that the BC NDP will inherit if we win the 2005 election. Carole has been very critical of Gordo for tearing up contracts, so we'd have to think carefully before ripping up the RAV deal in the middle of the Olympic Games preparations.

A better option might be to ask the Auditor-General to do a forensic audit on RAV before and during the 2010 games and then report out in 2011(remembering that there will be elections in 2005 and 2009). If the A-G finds that RAV is over budget and not delivering the benefits to taxpayers, we could then terminate the contract and integrate RAV with the overall Translink system, to be run in the public interest. That way, it would not disrupt the 2010 preparations but we could get out of the horrible P3 deal before too much damage is done.


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 10 July 2004 03:10 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Carole has been very critical of Gordo for tearing up contracts, so we'd have to think carefully before ripping up the RAV deal in the middle of the Olympic Games preparations.

Unfortunately if you start tearing up contracts you don't like it becomes much harder to object if someone else tears up a contract you do like.

Bill 29 allows public and private health employers to void existing union deals and contract out work for wages that are as much as 50% lower.

By the way, if anybody isn't aware of the outcome, the union lost.

[ 10 July 2004: Message edited by: abnormal ]


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 10 July 2004 10:58 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with abnormal. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander. The NDP, in fact, should strip the private partner of any revenue rights and put the RAV entirely under Translink's authority.

However, in the longer term I would like to see the NDP fund Translink more fully, and to condition funding increases to Translink on transit-fare rollbacks to 1997 levels.

If Translink refuses to roll back fares, no money will be forthcoming and they can go jump in a lake.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
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posted 11 July 2004 08:58 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by West Coast Lefty:

I will not research that factoid for you


I know you put a smiley there. I also know I had the wrong info re the Mark II cars.

But it seems to me I am the one who is researching the whole thing while you repeat assertions by the company (RTP 2000) responsible for the building of the line and hence interested in it being a success.

I'm still waiting for an answer from RTP 2000 re the accounting of interest costs. (Note 8 in the Financial Statements points in the right direction. I just want to further check with RTP 2000 to make sure my calculations are correct.)

Note 8.

Deferred capital and pre-operating contributions:
Deferred capital and pre-operating contributions are comprised of funding received as nonrepayable
Prepaid Capital Advances (“PCAs”) from the Ministry of Finance for the design,
planning and construction of the SkyTrain Extension and the related pre-operating costs. The
deferred capital and pre-operating contributions have been funded by the Ministry of Finance by
way of short-term notes and long-term notes. Attributed interest for the short-term notes is
capitalized by the Province and added to the total of PCAs contributed by the Province to the
Company. Attributed interest on the long-term notes is capitalized by the Province semi-annually
and is added to the total PCAs contributed by the Province to the Company.

http://www.rapidtransit.bc.ca/aboutus/pdf/rtp200financialreportaudited.pdf

It seems to me that $11,533,873 interest on the long term notes were capitalized for the six months ended Sep 30, 2003.

Now how's that capitalizing expenses and then claim that the project came in on budget? (I left out amortisation and the capitalisation of short term interest, which change things a little.)

It's perfectly legal under so called "commonly accepted accounting principles" but the fact remains that the "expense clock" is still ticking because it doesn't make a difference to BC taxpayers whether you call it capital (i.e. borrowed funds) or construction expense. We'll have to pay either one.

"Under budget"?

Never mind the award. That doesn't prove anything. Didn't Enron have a lot of awards too?

[ 11 July 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged

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