First, if we go that way, if we build the $3-billion Gateway program, that won't be the end of it. There are wish lists as long as your arm for transit, road, bridge, rail and marine transportation projects that together will cost much more than Gateway.
Second, the debate is just beginning about whether Gateway-style, large-scale road-building is needed. Some transportation experts are shaking their heads and saying it is a return to the freeway-building madness of the 1950s and 1960s.
Others say it's about time somebody did something, and more road space is just what's needed.
With two to three years of consultations and planning ahead and the bulk of construction pencilled in for 2009 through 2013, this issue should be just about ripe for picking when the 2009 provincial election campaign gets going.
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Freeways -- to build them or not -- are the story of modern Vancouver. In the 1950s and 1960s we didn't build them and we escaped the traffic congestion that now chokes many of the cities that did. Some of those cities are tearing down their freeways, trying to become more livable, and using freeway-free Vancouver as their model.
But there's more to Greater Vancouver than the precious beaches and gleaming towers of the famous downtown peninsula.
There's the growing international trade moving through the ports, and the people who run them are clamouring for more roads for the big trucks that carry the containers.
And there are the exasperated residents of the region's eastern suburbs, especially south of the Fraser, where traffic congestion is bad and getting worse, and the lack of freeway space seems like the obvious culprit.
For many of them, the Gateway program -- twinning the Port Mann Bridge, widening the Trans-Canada Highway, building a new truck route along the south shore of the Fraser River and piecing together another truck route on the river's north shore, complete with a new Pitt River Bridge -- is a gift from heaven.
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Bob Wilds, for one, is pretty happy this week.
Wilds is the long-time director of the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council, which represents the ports and other major transportation industries.
For many years, the council has been pestering governments for more infrastructure -- especially road, bridge and rail -- to move the goods that enter our ports to destinations all over North America.
His is no longer a voice in the wilderness. The provincial Liberal government has embraced trade and transportation as the core of its economic vision, the federal government has jumped on board, and Wilds is pleased.
"The Gateway program that was just announced is pretty much in line with the projects that we had identified," he said.
"Our list of projects included the RAV Line, the Trans-Canada Highway, the Port Mann, south and north Fraser perimeter roads, the Pitt River Bridge, the Golden Ears Bridge. Those are all key projects in our priority list that had to be addressed for the goods-movement sector and tourism."