The $3.5 billion George Massey Tunnel replacement project won’t be getting investment from the federal government, Delta MP Carla Qualtrough said during her appearance in front of Delta council.
Qualtrough said the federal government was making a “historic investment in infrastructure,” and she “wanted to make sure that Delta received it’s fair share of the pie.”
In her presentation, Qualtrough outlined a number of projects receiving investments from the federal government. These included $34 million for the Alex Fraser Bridge expansion, $10 million for the Highway 91 and 72 Avenue interchange and $81.7 million for the Highway 91 to Highway 17/Deltaport Way corridor improvement project.
Missing from this investment list was the future Massey Bridge, which received an environmental assessment certificate in February 2017. The total cost of this project is set at $3.5 billion, and construction for this project is scheduled to start in 2017.
“The provincial government had put the George Massey Tunnel replacement project as one of its top priorities for federal government infrastructure investment,” Qualtrough said. “That’s morphed a little bit.”
She said the provincial government is now looking for financing through the Federal Infrastructure Bank, which provides lost-cost financing for infrastructure projects.
Instead of getting an investment for the project, the provincial government would be getting “a favourable interest rate,” Qualtrough said.
According to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the province will move ahead with the Massey Tunnel replacement with or without federal funding. The business case for the project says that the full cost can be replayed through user tolls at a similar rate to the Port Mann Bridge.
The province will continue to discuss with the federal government on this matter.
In Qualtrough’s presentation to council, she also discussed many of the other investments the federal government has made in Delta, including the Canada Summer Jobs program, which created 178 jobs in Delta last year; the Canada Child Benefit, which helped 8,900 Delta families; and investments in a number of seniors programs.
Immigration, the environment and health issues like the opioid crisis and the legalization of marijuana were also discussed.
She also talked in depth with Coun. Ian Payton during the question part of her presentation about the future of Deltaport and the possibility of investment in recurring secondary dredging maintenance for the river.