July 27, 2006
Evergreen Line - Project Status
July 19, 2006 TransLink Board Decision:
At its July meeting, the TransLink Board voted to 'extend' the construction period for the Evergreen Line. This extension will reduce the estimated cost of the project by $107 million because certain costs involved with an accelerated construction schedule, including the need to purchase two tunnel boring machines instead of one, will be eliminated.
Media reports quote various officials as endorsing this decision:
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon called TransLink's decision to bump
the finish date "wise... given the construction cost pressures." "To go into
with a major project right now probably wouldn't be in the best interest of
all the marketplace taxpayers funding it," he said.
NDP house leader Mike Farnworth, Port Coquitlam- Burke Mountain MLA
said he understands why the construction dates have to be re-jigged
Tri-City mayors Maxine Wilson, Scott Young and Joe Trasolini said the
2007-'09 timeline was aggressive and the costs too high. As a result,
construction will begin in 2007 and end in 2011 - and the cost will still be
$153 million more than the original budget.
Construction on the project is still planned to start basically on schedule in September of 2007, but with the Board's decision, the line will be completed and in service by September of 2011 instead of December of 2009.
Cost and Financing:
Work on the 'preliminary design' of the Evergreen Line is wrapping up, with a round of open houses scheduled for September to give the public an opportunity to see how the project has been shaped by three rounds of consultation. The updated cost estimate for the line is $953 million -- this is after the savings of $107 million that resulted from the decision to extend the construction period.
Currently, TransLink has committed $400 million -- an amount that the GVRD approved adding to our debt cap. TransLink will require $40 million in revenue per year to service
this debt. The province has committed $170 million. This leaves a funding gap of $383 million, and discussions continue on additional provincial and/or federal funding for the project.
October 2006 Board Meeting:
In October, the Evergreen Line project is due to come back to the TransLink Board for an approval to proceed. Prior to this meeting, TransLink will provide senior governments
With a comprehensive business case for the project in order to attract the required funding.
TransLink Chair Malcolm Brodie says the Evergreen Line is a priority and all efforts will be made to get the extra funding in place so that the project can be built.