“As people continue to vote with their feet and build a bright future for themselves in Canada’s leading economy, the Lower Mainland is going to grow by a million people in just 30 years,” said Clark. “The George Massey Tunnel is already the biggest bottleneck in the province – and we’re the only party with a plan to replace it with a new, seismically safe bridge.”
The Ironworkers Local 97 and Local 712 – many of whose members will join the 9,000 people who will help build the new bridge – were on hand to support the project, and endorse the Liberals in the upcoming election.
“The opposition parties say they support working people – but they never support projects that get people working,” said Clark.
She pointed out that the Liberals are the only party with a plan to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge – a plan that will:
· Create 9,000 direct construction jobs and another 5,000 indirect jobs
· Make people safer on the highway;
· Save 80,000 rush-hour commuters 30 minutes every day – about 125 hours per year – they can spend with their families instead;
· Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing idling and adding HOV and transit lanes.
· Support the movement of $25 billion a year in vital goods shipped through the Asia Pacific Gateway
She noted that the George Massey Tunnel replacement project has taken shape after four years of consultation with First Nations, local governments, and key stakeholders. It includes over $500 million in transit infrastructure, and will include a multi-use pathway that will make walking and cycling viable options to cross the Fraser. Other safety benefits of the project include additional lanes, making merging and reducing collisions by an estimated 35 per cent, and wider lanes and shoulders that will improve safety and emergency response times.
The BC NDP and Green Party oppose the replacement project and would keep the seismically at-risk tunnel. They would leave drivers stuck, idling, in gridlock – and kill 14,000 direct and indirect jobs, said the Liberals.