Citizens Concerned with Highway Expansion


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A $1.4-Billion Mistake

The government of BC is trying to solve traffic congestion on the Trans-Canada Highway by increasing capacity to at least eight lanes between Vancouver and Langley. The estimated cost of this project is at least $1.4-billion.

 

FALSE.  In fact, this project - which will undoubtedly be a public-private partnership, or P3 - will lead to more congestion because increased road capacity will lead to more cars and because financing it through a P3 means that the only way for the private company to make money is to encourage single-occupancy-vehicles. 

 

More Road Capacity = More cars and trucks 

In fact, widening the highway will lead to 'induced demand'.  In other words - building more lanes causes more cars to suddenly appear on the roadway.  This is caused by increased development along the route (read, more development up the Valley) and because people who had chosen alternatives will get back in their cars if they see the road clearing up.

 

Interestingly, the opposite has also proven to be true.  If you reduce the number of lanes of traffic available to cars and truckes, they somehow disappear.  You might think that taking a away traffic lanes in one place would lead to congestion elsewhere, but according to a recent study, this isn't true.  People move to using alternatives, or they combine trips so that they are driving altogether less.

 

P3 - a recipe for single-occupancy-vehicles

The Golden Ears Bridge is a perfect example of this.  The GVRD has a policy that new bridges must include high-occupancy-vehicle lanes in their construction...but they had to overlook this with the Golden Ears Bridge because of the arrangement with the private partner through the P3.  Put simply, the only way for the private company to make money off its investment is to 1) introduce a toll for some or all of the lanes and 2) encourage single-occumpany vehicles to use the toll service because they represent a higher toll level than cars with more than one person in them.





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©2005 Citizens Concerned with Highway Expansion