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B.C. Premier Eby says province can’t rely on ‘grandparents’ infrastructure’

Comments come after opposition criticized delays on 2 major transportation infrastructure projects
Premier David Eby defended his government’s record on infrastructure projects after government had announced that the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project (seen here) as well as the Broadway Subway Project will be delayed for another year. (Photo courtesy of the B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Premier David Eby is defending the B.C. NDP’s record when it comes to major infrastructure as two major projects in the Metro Vancouver area have run into delays.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation announced Friday that the Broadway Subway Project worth $2.83 billion won’t be completed until 2027, a year behind schedule. Also behind schedule is the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project worth $1.377 billion. That Fraser River crossing won’t be completed until the fall of 2025, also a year behind schedule. This means government has changed the completion date for each project twice.

The first delay of the subway line happened in November 2022 when authorities pushed the opening to the fall of 2026 from late 2025 following a third-party labour dispute. The first delay of the bridge replacement happened in 2021 when government pushed an opening date of late 2023 to the fall of 2024.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation said in a statement that the delays won’t impact budgets — for now.

“With these schedule delays, there are budget pressures,” it reads. “We are managing within the current budget and contingencies and will provide an update as needed.”

These changes — announced Friday afternoon — prompted criticism. B.C. United Leader Kevin Falcon Monday (May 27) said a government under his leadership would deliver projects on time and on budget, pointing to his past role as Transportation Minister during the premiership of Gordon Campbell.

Eby, however, rejected these criticisms, noting that both Falcon and Conservative Party of B.C. John Rustad sat around the cabinet table, but did not choose to build those projects.

“They could have built the (subway line).”

RELATED: Pattullo Bridge replacement delayed again, now projected to open in 2025

Eby said his government is building out B.C.’s infrastructure to accommodate record population growth. That includes building or expanding 15 hospitals and $4.2 billion for new schools.

“We are adding 10,000 people every 37 days to (B.C.),” he said. “If we don’t build the schools and the hospitals and the transit and the roads like Highway 1…all these pieces, we are going to be in real trouble.”

Eby added that his proud of his government’s record.

“We will put that up against their record anytime, including the upcoming election,” he said. “We cannot rely on our grandparents’ infrastructure in an environment where we are adding so many people and where people are counting on us to deliver high quality public services, so this province can continue to grow and prosper.”

The Broadway Subway Project extends Skytrain’s Millennium Line by 5.7 kilometres from the Vancouver Community College Clark Station to Broadway and Arbutus with five kilometres running underground. The line includes six underground stations and terminates in a rapid bus connection to the University of British Columbia.

The Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project replaces a bridge across Fraser River first opened in 1937. Critics say the new bridge won’t be large enough to accommodate expected traffic volumes between New Westminster on the northern bank and the fast growing community of Surrey on the southern bank.

- with files from Anna Burns

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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