TransLink has revealed that it will continue to lose millions each year to operate and maintain the 2009-completed Golden Ears Bridge. The shortfall has been blamed on much lower than anticipated traffic levels on the tolled crossing.
The Golden Ears Bridge is expected to lose anywhere from $35 to 45 million a year over the short-term. Unlike other public transit agencies in the world, when it was created in 1999, TransLink was also given a mandate to build and maintain many of the region’s major roadways and bridge, and this responsibility has since overstretched the public agency’s resources and strained its main obligation with operating and expanding the region’s public transit system.
The decline in bridge users is being attributed to slower economic growth and high gas prices. The 976-metre long, 6-lane bridge connecting Langley to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows replaced TransLink’s Albion Ferry and was originally seen as a catalyst for economic growth in the region’s eastern suburbs.
The Golden Ears Bridge was designed to meet not only the demands of today but also the demands of future generations decades from now. Critics of “overbuilding” our infrastructure should take to the Lions Gate Bridge, Pattullo Bridge, and the absurdly short SkyTrain Canada Line station platforms as prime examples of short-sighted planning.
Tolls from the four-year old bridge only started hitting pre-set targets last year. Click here to see current toll rates.
Image: Sean Marshall