The provincial government has announced BC on the Move, a 10-year transportation plan that outlines critical investments and improvements throughout the province that will improve the daily lives of British Columbians.
A statement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the $2.5-billion plan will grow the economy, improve safety, maintain and replace aging infrastructure and support trade for BC’s expanding resource sectors through Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway.
The plan included input from an extensive engagement process in fall 2014 that included meetings with key stakeholders throughout B.C., including First Nations, local governments, chambers of commerce and port and airport authorities. Government also conducted a public survey with almost 13,000 responses.
The statement said British Columbians made it clear they want their highways, roads, bridges and side roads kept in good condition, which is why the plan includes more than $800 million over the next three years dedicated to existing infrastructure and almost $1 billion toward expansion of major highways and the network.
BC on the Move includes a new Provincial Trucking Strategy that will involve industry working together on how best to improve the safety, efficiency and economics of trucking in BC.
Other highlights of BC on the Move:
- Partnering with First Nations on projects that support economic activity.
- Improving accessibility for persons with limited mobility by upgrading rest areas.
- New investments in bike lanes and trails through partnerships with local communities.
“The best possible transportation network is vital to the daily lives of every single British Columbian and is one of the most important foundations of a strong economy,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said in the statement. “BC on the Move is the roadmap for the next 10 years on how we will expand and improve our transportation network to ultimately improve the quality of life for us all.”
BC on the Move is available online at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/transportationplan
However, Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald criticized the plan saying “the contrast between the rhetoric and the facts has descended into farce.”
“This 10-Year Transportation Plan is an ‘all bun and no beef’ announcement if ever there was one,” he said in a statement. “Premier Clark’s ‘Let’s get the job done on the TCH’ message at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in 2012 has been downgraded to ‘continuing to advance four-laning projects’ in the latest document. A pitiful response as far as I’m concerned.”
In 2012, Clark said the four-laning of the remaining two-lane 280 kilometers on the Trans-Canada between Kamloops and the Alberta border would be completed in the next 10 years. She indicated that there would be an additional $509 million put specifically toward that project during her speech. But instead, funding for the Trans-Canada Highway has remained mostly unchanged with only a modest increase planned for 2017/18.
“Minister Stone is now bravely announcing that work on the Trans-Canada Highway will include resurfacing roads and repairing and replacing bridges. To my mind, this would be the absolute minimum that would be required, and takes us no closer to completing the premier’s promise,” Macdonald said.
“If we continue at the government’s current pace, it will take 60 years for them to fulfill their promise. Nothing significant is being done to improve this sometimes treacherous highway, and the communities of Golden and Revelstoke will continue to pay the price in lives lost, access cut off, and economic activity halted.
“There is nothing to laud in the government’s latest no-news announcement, this so-called BC On the Move document. This government is clearly not ‘on the move’ on the Trans-Canada Highway.”