Category: Budget & Estimate Disasters

Designed to mislead

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The British Columbia Liberal 2001 election platform had 37 references promising improved democracy, increased accountability or more open government. Its 2013 platform had none, because the party had lost interest in the goals, not because they had been attained. If ever any party strayed far from principles that first got it elected government, it is the one led today by Christy Clark. If you doubt my assertion, read through A New Era for British Columbia. That document was prepared by Gordon Campbell and his associates. Some will believe that it was a pack of lies from the start. Others would argue — excepting the page 9 promise to “not sell or privatize BC Rail” — that the Liberal Party started with good intentions and lost its way, corrupted by wealth and power…

Port Mann losses “unsustainable”

TIC recap

Since toll revenue at Port Mann has covered only 39% of operating costs, the BC Government needs to explain how it will finance existing and future shortfalls on Port Mann/Highway 1. These are growing by about $5 million a month and paying for an even more costly tunnel replacement will demand a solution. One possibility was proposed in the original Gateway Program. It contemplated: “…tolling of all bridges connecting to the Burrard Peninsula, including the Lions Gate, Ironworkers Memorial, Pitt River, Port Mann, Pattullo, Alex Fraser, Knight Street, Oak Street and Arthur Laing bridges…”

Vancouver Sun saving the snake oil rhetoric

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Overall, says Dermod Travis of Integrity B.C., the Gateway transportation plan — other components include the Port Mann Bridge replacement, widening of the Trans-Canada Highway, and the North Fraser Perimeter Road — overshot budget estimates by more than $2 billion. Travis warns that of 18 projects announced by the B.C. government since 2003, nine hospitals are over-budget by 12.6 per cent, seven transportation projects are 59.2 per cent over budget, and the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project and a new roof for B.C. Place were 68.1 per cent over budget. Then there are the provincial government’s large-scale information technology projects. Reporters Lori Culbert and Rob Shaw found them plagued by operational problems, behind schedule, and $350 million over budget… Finally, there is the abysmal B.C. Hydro file…

Dots that may connect – UPDATED

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In October 2015, the Commissioner approved $173 million for the project but, as evidenced by the confidential order three months later, increased the approved amount by $46 million to $219 million. Instead of five times cost of the last refits, the 2016 multiplier is eight. So, whether it is $140, $173, $219 millions or an even higher cost subsequently revealed, whether the contract is completed by 2018, 2019 or later, I predict the refits will be advertised as completed on-time, on-budget. That tag is applied to all BC Liberal projects, no matter how many times the budget or completion date must be altered.

Certainty of Site C massive cost overrun is 86%

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BC’s Minister of Energy said in mid October that the $7.9 billion budget for Site C had been examined by top international experts and was assuredly “reliable.” Two months later, Premier Clark revealed the dam budget had jumped to $8.5 billion. Days passed and when project approval was announced, the budget had jumped to $8.775 billion. Once again, the British Columbia Liberals demonstrate practiced mendacity. They are consistent though since mega-projects of the past five years typically doubled between first announcement and completion but were invariably pronounced to be on-time and on-budget. The mantra will be used again…

Liberal estimates and guesstimates

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“With an average cost overrun of over 90%, large dams have one of the highest cost overruns among all infrastructure asset classes. This result is before accounting for negative impacts on human society and environment, and without including the effects of inflation and debt servicing…

Sea to Sky Highway subsidy $12-$15 each vehicle UPDATED

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It wasn’t on budget for the public but probably was for the private companies hidden behind the Sea-to-Sky Highway Investment Limited Partnership. Liberals are masters of public finance in one particular way. They deliver opportunities to deal makers and deal flippers, with details of all transactions hidden from view. It wasn’t long before the first flip happened on the Sea-to-Sky project.